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products liability and complex torts

Conrad O’Brien attorneys defend our clients in some of the most complicated products liability and complex and mass tort litigation in the country.  We have represented leading national and international companies spanning a broad range of industries, including the chemical, oil, pharmaceutical, medical device, cell phone, agricultural products, tobacco, appliance, electronics, and sporting goods industries.  Conrad O’Brien’s complex tort cases currently include representation of clients in asbestos personal injury and premises liability cases and brain cancer cluster cases.  The Firm has represented our clients’ interests in Superfund, toxic tort, CERCLA, and environmental personal injury and property exposure litigation. 

Judge Louis Bechtle, Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania who has been with the Firm since 2001, serves as an invaluable consultant for our clients and our team of products liability and mass tort attorneys.  In his capacity as Chief Judge, Judge Bechtle presided over several prominent multi-district litigation mass tort matters, including the Fen-Phen litigation, orthopedic bone-screw cases, and the MGM Grand Hotel fire litigation.

The Firm’s representative clients, and our successes in working for them, include the following:

  • We are counsel for an international chemical manufacturer defending against a series of mass tort personal injury cases filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 
  • We represent a multi-national appliance manufacturer in a three-state putative class action (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware), in which plaintiffs allege product design defect and ineffective product recall. 
  • We served as local trial counsel for a major tobacco company in a series of products liability cases against the industry.  Our representation included significant work in the landmark Third Circuit case, Barnes v. American Tobacco Co., in which the Third Circuit ultimately held that individual issues precluded class certification and that defendants were entitled to summary judgment.  161 F.3d 127 (3d Cir. 1998).  In another case in which we represented a tobacco industry organization, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of antitrust, RICO and state common law claims filed by union health and welfare funds.  Steamfitters Local Union No. 420 Welfare Fund v. Phillip Morris, Inc., 171 F.3d 912 (3d Cir. 1999). 
  • Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys resolved a products liability lawsuit filed against a leading regional pharmaceutical company by an individual alleging injury from the use of a prescription drug manufactured by our client.  We successfully moved to dismiss a number of plaintiff’s claims and through motion practice significantly narrowed the scope of plaintiff’s available causes of action for trial.  Following the court’s resolution of a number of pre-trial motions filed by Conrad O’Brien, plaintiff agreed to settle the matter for a full release in exchange for a nominal sum.  
  • We represented the American Red Cross in litigation over blood-borne diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis, arising out of blood transfusions in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 
  • A sporting goods manufacturer has retained us to assist the company in evaluating its exposure in products liability matters throughout the country. 
  • We serve as Pennsylvania counsel for an international electronics company in asbestos personal injury cases. 
  • We won several defense verdicts for a pharmaceutical company sued in connection with a popular over-the-counter sinus medication. 
  • We served as national coordinating counsel for a contact lens manufacturer. 
  • We defended one of the world’s largest computer manufacturers in mass tort and class action litigation relating to repetitive stress injuries (RSI) allegedly stemming from computer keyboard use.  Although plaintiffs’ lawyers touted RSI claims as the “asbestos litigation of the 1990s,” such claims have largely dried up after several key defense victories.