"A leading firm for litigation and arbitration ..."

JUVE Handbuch 2013/2014

Product Liability

Gleiss Lutz is a recognised leader in product liability and safety counselling, with decades of experience in these areas. As one of the few full service law firms in Germany, we can draw on the specialist knowledge of top-rate lawyers from a wide range of legal fields, providing clients with highest quality advice on all aspects of product liability. Dealing with product liability and safety issues generally requires experience in civil, public and criminal law. Our integrated approach means clients benefit from our crossdisciplinary expertise and seamless service delivery. We have extensive experience in handling some of the industry’s most significant product liability proceedings, having, for example, secured a German Supreme Court ruling on defective nursing beds – its most important decision on product recalls to date. Our services range from preventive counselling and developing claims avoidance and recall strategies, to providing product safety and certification advice, preparing and negotiating quality assurance agreements, handling insurance coverage disputes and litigating product liability cases. We manage and coordinate global recalls, and help companies successfully weather crises. We also help avoid miscommunication with authorities in Germany and abroad and mitigate the risk of criminal and administrative offences.

Product liability litigation

A main focus of our practice is on litigating product liability disputes. We have decades of experience in representing domestic and foreign companies sued for alleged product defects, having been regularly involved in relevant landmark cases. Our services range from negotiating out-ofcourt settlements, and representing clients in court proceedings, to providing increasingly important marketing and public relations support. Dealing with insurance companies and handling disputes with other firms over the reimbursement of product recall costs are other significant parts of our practice. In litigation matters with a cross-border dimension, clients can take advantage of our global network of leading local law firms and excellent personal ties.

Product warnings and recalls

Product warnings and recalls put considerable strain on companies, both financially and otherwise. Quality manufacturers, in particular, rarely have to deal with such cases, making them all the more vulnerable when they actually have to. As industry specialists, we have the expertise and experience needed to guide clients safely through these testing times. Plus, we know how critical rapid response is and which authorities need to be notified in such cases, and can help devise and quickly implement a suitable recall strategy. We also help avoid miscommunication with authorities in Germany and abroad and mitigate the risk of criminal and administrative offences.

Preventive counselling

Another key aspect of our work is providing preventive counselling on product liability issues. With the right preemptive strategy and execution, companies can minimise the risk of product liability claims. We help draft and negotiate agreements with contract manufacturers, suppliers and customers, set up quality assurance systems and increase employee awareness of potential risks by offering in-house training sessions and workshops. And we make sure clients have an effective recall management programme in place to deal with worst-case scenarios.

Quality assurance (QA) agreements

As companies face ever more stringent legal requirements, watertight quality assurance agreements and effective quality assurance systems play an increasingly vital role. We offer support in preparing, negotiating and concluding suitable quality assurance agreements with partners in Germany and abroad, aid in identifying the responsibilities of the respective parties, and protect our clients’ interests where they form part of a supply chain. We also advise on the preparation of quality management manuals, liability guidelines, product descriptions and user manuals, as well as on product presentation for advertising purposes.

Product compliance

Companies launching new products must often navigate a maze of both national and international requirements and guidelines. We oversee and ensure our clients’ compliance with product regulations at all stages of the product life cycle, including conducting risk assessment and conformity assessment procedures, meeting notification requirements and communicating with the relevant domestic and foreign authorities, as well as dealing with intervention by public authorities.
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Global reach

Almost all product recalls and warnings we advise on are cross-border in nature. Aided by our global network of leading local law firms and close personal contacts, we manage and coordinate product recalls in all countries affected. Whenever required, we can quickly and efficiently put together and manage select, multi-jurisdictional teams best suited to the task at hand. This gives clients the best of both worlds: a contact they know and trust – and consistently high-quality, tailored advice and seamless service across borders.
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Your contact

Dr. Eric Wagner
Lautenschlagerstrasse 21
70173 Stuttgart
T +49 711 8997-248
E eric.wagner@gleisslutz.com