Product liability, negligence and wrongful death cases with significant monetary liability and regulatory exposure require thoughtful strategy to include focus on development of facts and legal theories that will make a difference at trial.
High profile and multiple-plaintiff product liability and wrongful death actions also often spawn regulatory and sometimes criminal parallel investigations. Hueston Hennigan’s reputation for trial expertise and ability to create effective strategies to defeat parallel civil, regulatory and criminal matters makes it the firm of choice for these actions.
Our experience ranges from winning and defeating billion-dollar product liability and wrongful death cases at trial, to declinations of regulatory and criminal investigations, to creative and successful motions strategies to leverage highly favorable settlements.
Won “landmark” opioid trial for Endo Pharmaceuticals in a $50 billion public nuisance action. Three of the most populous counties in California and the City of Oakland brought suit against opioid manufacturers alleging public nuisance, false advertising and unfair competition. The jurisdictions claimed that manufacturers’ alleged false and misleading marketing caused a $50 billion public nuisance. The win was hailed as “giv[ing] drug companies their first major victory in the litigation brought by cities and counties across the country over the opioid crisis,” American Lawyer. (See “How Hueston Hennigan Notched A Landmark Opioid Trial Win,” Law360; “Opioid Makers Win Major Victory in California Trial,” New York Times; “Drug Makers Handed First Win Out of Thousands of National Opioid Crisis Lawsuits,” Newsweek).
Secured a $5.15 billion settlement after trial for the Tronox Trust against Anadarko Petroleum Company and Kerr McGee Corporation for claims including wrongful death and fraudulent transfer of massive environmental, tort, retiree, and other liabilities. (See “Tronox Trust Wins Up to $14B in Kerr-McGee Spinoff Row,” Law360; “Anadarko, Kerr-McGee liable for Tronox cleanup costs,” Reuters).
Defending Amazon.com and Twitch against multiple lawsuits arising out of the tragic May 2022 mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY. Plaintiffs claim that Amazon.com, Twitch, and other social media services incentivized the shooter to commit his horrific crimes by, among other things, providing him with the ability to livestream his attack. Plaintiffs’ claims, which include product liability, negligence, and other torts, raise significant issues relating to the First Amendment and the scope of immunity for social media services under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Secured Declination of Criminal Investigation and Defending Southern California Edison and Edison International in all civil litigation arising out of the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Montecito mudslides. The fire, the then largest in California history, allegedly caused over two dozen deaths, destroyed over 1,000 structures, damaged over 250 structures, and burned over 280,000 acres. Our roles include defense of all civil litigation and consultation and engagement with regulatory and investigatory agencies.
Secured highly favorable settlement for Union Pacific in wrongful death case involving multiple potential tortfeasors. Plaintiffs’ claims relied on alleged nondelegable duties under FMCSA regulations for intermodal equipment providers.
Defending Medtronic against claims that defects in its insulin pump and infusion set caused a user to experience hypoglycemia, fall five flights of stairs, and suffer catastrophic injuries. Plaintiff’s theories include product liability, negligence, and violation of California unfair competition law.
Defending the country’s largest integrated health care system against multiple lawsuits arising out of a traffic collision in Los Angeles involving a nurse leaving a shift at one of its hospitals that resulted in multiple fatalities. Plaintiffs’ claims of negligence, wrongful death, negligent hiring/training/supervision/retention, and negligent entrustment involve key issues related to scope of vicarious liability for the actions of a temporary worker who was not engaged in an employment-related activity.
Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of all claims for Ecobat, the global leader in battery recycling and lead production, in tort litigation alleging over $80 million in damages arising from the company’s operation of a facility in Southern California.
Lead counsel in the design and creation of a uniquely tailored $175 million fund for families of the wildfire victims in representation of the State of Hawaii in the wake of the 2023 Maui fire, one of the ‘largest natural disasters’ in state’s history with over 100 confirmed deaths. Organized various defendants to participate in the Fund, which will provide quick and certain relief to wrongful death and personal injury plaintiffs who choose to opt in.
Defending PacifiCorp against numerous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions across Oregon and California arising out of the 2020 Labor Day Fires. The fires burned over 500,000 acres across at least five counties in Oregon and California and allegedly destroyed over 2,000 structures and multiple deaths. Our roles include defense of all civil litigation and consultation and engagement with regulatory and investigatory agencies.