Product Liability, Safety and Recall - DAC Beachcroft

Product Liability, Safety and Recall

What we do

We have acted for clients in the majority of significant product liability cases that have been decided in the UK over the last 35 years. Our product liability department is top ranked in both of the profession’s leading legal directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers. We are recognised as leaders in our field and hold the Legal 500's UK 2018 Insurance - Firm of the Year award in the Specialism category for our Product Liability offering.

Landmark product liability cases generally arise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector due to their repercussive nature, but our team also advises insurers, manufacturers and producers from a wide range of industry sectors including consumer goods, medical devices, agrochemicals, food and drink, telecoms, biotechnology, automotive, mining and construction.

We have been involved in the development of group litigation in the UK, working with our clients on their management and strategy of these complex claims. The high-profile nature of many of these instructions has resulted in us advising on novel and innovative questions of law and procedure. We are known for our ability to provide specialist advice to the life sciences industry in the UK and Europe on all aspects of regulatory, liability and product safety issues, including the conduct of clinical trials. We have assisted clients with the approval process for medicines, drug pharmacovigilance and compliance issues.

In addition to defending claims, we also advise our clients on safety regulations and compliance before they place their products on the market, as well as how to conduct a recall.

We have extensive expertise in advising on all aspects of related insurance policy coverage, including product liability, product guarantee, recall and contamination insurance, whether under standalone covers or global programmes.

Detailed elements of our services

  • Defence of Product Liability claims
  • Product Safety: Regulatory, compliance and advice
  • Product Recall and management of other corrective action
  • Management of Group Litigation
  • Insurance policy coverage advice and wordings issues
  • Supply chain management
  • Cross-border and jurisdictional issues
  • Health & Safety
  • Brand and Reputation management

What we are known for

Product Liability – Pharmaceutical and Medical

We are experts at advising manufacturers throughout a product's life cycle from research and development and clinical trials, through authorisation to marketing and regulatory compliance. We also advise the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in relation to consumer protection issues; supply chain, contractual and indemnity issues; relationship management; reputation and brand protection; jurisdictional and cross border issues and document retention.

  • Acting for the National Blood Authority and all NHS Trusts, on the instruction of NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority), in the Hepatitis C litigation. This case is the leading European decision on the interpretation of the Product Liability Directive. We also coordinated the NHS defence in the HIV Haemophilia litigation.
  • Acting for clinical trial insurers in respect of claims and issues arising from the clinical trial of monoclonal antibody TGN1412 at Northwick Park Hospital.
  • Acting for GlaxoSmithKline in the MMR Vaccine Litigation.
  • Acting for Akzo Nobel in the third generation oral contraceptive pill group action.
  • Acting for a US manufacturer in the English Blood Products litigation. Liaison with US attorneys in relation to the coordination of the worldwide defence strategy.
  • Acting for a UK captive seeking recoveries from reinsurers in respect of legal costs incurred in defending the US Seroquel product liability group action involving 30,000 plaintiffs.
  • Advising the manufacturer of an anti-epileptic in actions in respect of Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome.
  • Advising two private healthcare organisations in the defence of the group litigation involving allegedly defective PIP silicone breast implants.
  • Advising private hospitals on claims arising out of the use of metal on metal hip implants.
Product Liability – industrial and consumer products

Every day we work with leading manufacturers and suppliers and their insurers to investigate, manage and mitigate product liability risks. Our extensive experience across a wide variety of sectors includes:

  • Acting for Yamaha in respect of their All Terrain Vehicles in the first UK case to be decided under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
  • Successfully defending Zurich in respect of their potential liability to indemnify Land of Leather in the toxic sofa litigation, one of the largest English group actions.
  • Advising insurers for supply of defective animal feed to UK supermarkets.
  • Advising a leading electronics manufacturer and its insurers relating to cross-border product liability claims against suppliers following fires in household appliances.
  • Advising on policy coverage and defending product liability claims in supply chain disputes concerning children's toys, food packaging and ingredients, engineering components etc.
Product Safety and Recall

Our product safety team works closely with manufacturers and distributors to achieve compliance with product safety regulations while also helping to reduce an organisation's exposure to potential product liability claims. We advise on UK and EU products-related laws and regulations across a broad range of sectors to ensure that all products placed on the market are safe.

  • Advising insurers in relation to coverage issues arising from the salmonella contamination at Cadbury's Marlbrook plant, including the extent of cover available under Liability and Recall policies.
  • Advising a UK mobile network operator and internet service provider with respect to a recall of mobile phone chargers.
  • Advising a major fire blanket manufacturer with respect to product safety and recall issues.
  • Advising product guarantee and recall insurers on claims against UK component supplier arising from global recall of leading sports car brand.
  • Working with a leading global tyre manufacturer relating to product safety risk management including coordinating a global quality campaign and consumer safety recall.
  • Advising numerous medical device manufacturers regarding product safety, recall, liaising with regulatory authorities and managing customer communications..
  • We are also highly experienced in advising where regulatory action has been taken by the HSE and Trading Standards, and in connection with Coroners' Inquests.

What our clients say

"They have a long-standing reputation for big-ticket pharmaceutical product liability and that remains something they are very highly regarded for. They have real expertise in that area and are absolutely excellent." Chambers UK, 2015

“Simon Pearl has accrued a vast amount of experience defending group product liability litigation. He was involved in some of the cases which shaped the modern era of product liability and is respected for being ‘a very tough litigator.'” Chambers UK, 2015

"DAC Beachcroft has a longstanding reputation in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, but also advises the automotive, technology, toys and agro-chemicals industries. 'Extremely experienced, first-rate litigator' Simon Pearl heads the healthcare practice and represented the BMI Healthcare Group in the PIP breast implant litigation. Wendy Hopkins leads the team’s insurance practice, and acted for Spire in the PIP litigation." Legal 500, 2015

“Alison McAdams is held in healthy regard for her understanding of medical and pharmaceutical product liability. Sources say she’s very bright indeed and has the analytical brain that can achieve results.” Chambers UK, 2015

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