Three-Pronged Product Liability Defense Approach

Every product made presents risks for those marketing it. They range from damaged reputations from disappointed customers to multi-million dollar adverse verdicts due to catastrophic injuries associated with the product’s use. Given the stakes, being unprepared to effectively manage these risks is not an option. The particular program that a given producer or supplier should employ is not a cookie cutter process. Rather, it requires careful consideration and thoughtful partnering with experienced outside counsel. At Cerberus s.c., our experienced products liability counsel stand ready, willing, and able to help you develop, execute, and maintain a world-class product liability risk management program.

A by-product of decades of experience, we advocate a three-pronged approach centered on three key, interrelated areas: 1) taking preventive steps to proactively manage and reduce risks, 2) crafting measured and timely responses to reported accidents, and 3) strategically defending claims.

1. Proactively Managing Risks. Lawsuits jeopardize a company’s reputation, disrupt its operations, and impose substantial costs. Consequently, our threshold goal is to work to reduce the risk of litigation by helping our clients take preventive measures to reduce their product liability exposure. These proactive measures encompass all phases of a product’s life from:   

  • Facilitating product design reviews and risk assessments
  • Crafting effective warnings and instructions, including use of cutting edge technology to deliver them
  • Implementing sound records practices
  • Adopting sensible sales policies (including “terms and conditions” of sale and other methods for allocating risks with distributors and other parties)
  • Reviewing advertising and promotional materials
  • Assist in developing technical service and product safety advisories to distributors and customers
  • Monitoring and responding to warranty claims (including developing appropriate post-sale remedial programs when appropriate)
  • Counseling on “legacy products” (i.e., those still being used in the field but no longer marketed by a company)
  • Advising on creating and updating industry standards
  • Interfacing with government agencies (especially OSHA representatives during early stages of serious accident investigations)
  • Conducting in-house presentations on best-practices

2. Fashioning Measured and Timely Accident Responses. If an accident should occur, we know the importance of collecting and preserving evidence promptly—and how to get it done efficiently and without drawing undue attention to our clients. Whether or not the incident ripens into a claim or lawsuit, Cerberus strives to put its clients in the best position to advocate their interests—whether it be settling a claim advantageously before a lawsuit is filed due to recognized fault on the company’s part, or discouraging any potential claim by educating government investigators (and others) of a gross misuse that precipitated the event.   

3. Strategically Defending Claims. We are skilled in developing the record to enable a company to tell its story in the most favorable light, but, just as importantly, we tailor the defense of a given case in a way that makes economic sense. While we are not strangers to the courtroom (having tried cases to verdicts in eight states and having been admitted in more than half of the 50 states in defending our clients’ interests), we are equally proud of our ability to resolve disputes earlier on—helping clients to achieve a sensible balance in deciding which cases merit a near-term settlement versus a more robust defense. When appropriate, we know how to employ mock trials and focus group presentations to refine the defense and put our clients in the best position to favorably resolve a dispute. And we know what it takes to ensure that a case ends up in the win column after an appeal. Our founding attorney, Dan La Fave, has argued and won landmark cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, among others.

A Tailored Approach. One size does not fit all companies. We welcome the opportunity to showcase for you how Cerberus can best serve your interests. We have the breadth of experience to address products across the spectrum, including: common consumer items, recreational products, construction and agricultural equipment, material handling equipment, and purportedly “toxic” ingredients (from asbestos to industrial chemicals used in making computer chips). If you are interested in improving how your company manages its product liability program—and not just reacts—we’d welcome an opportunity to meet with you to develop a tailored plan that will help you achieve that goal.

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| Phone: 262-488-0567 | 262-732-5399

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