Thompson Coe knows how to prepare an effective defense to product liability litigation that can involve huge damage claims, can take years before reaching trial, and can threaten the future of any company. When plaintiffs target “deep pocket” defendants like product manufacturers, healthcare product suppliers or vehicle manufacturers and their insurers, with emotional arguments that run counter to sound science and good law, we respond with the right strategy for settlement, trial or appeal.

Whether claims allege injury from design or manufacturing defects, failure to warn, product misuse or hazardous exposure – our experienced trial lawyers develop the best defense on scientific, technical and legal grounds. Whatever the product or technical focus, our lawyers speak the language of our clients and understand their business. We have defended product liability cases involving automobiles, industrial machinery and equipment, commercial and consumer products, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Our clients include Fortune 500 companies with significant risk exposure, and we have served them as local counsel and liaison counsel in multi-jurisdictional cases, as well as regional and national defense coordinating counsel.

We are frequently able to dispose of cases before trial, obtaining summary judgments or dismissals in our clients’ favor, and are experienced at negotiating settlements or pursuing alternative dispute resolution to resolve matters without the expense of litigation. However, our litigators also aggressively bring matters to trial. We use a thorough understanding of procedural rules and focused expert testimony to decry pseudoscientific allegations and attack the claims of plaintiffs’ experts, while relying on the effective defense provided by our own network of expert witnesses to structure cases for summary judgment or settlement. When necessary, our appellate lawyers identify issues for appeal, should the outcome of the case dictate one, and we have secured precedent-setting appellate victories in product liability matters before the Texas Supreme Court.

Although our products liability litigation encompasses a wide range of business sectors, Thompson Coe has particular strength in these areas:

Automotive Products Liability

Thompson Coe attorneys have extensive experience representing manufacturers and component suppliers of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs and recreational vehicles in lawsuits involving allegations of design and manufacturing defects, inadequate warnings, breach of warranty, and consumer fraud. We have tried cases involving defect allegations related to fuel systems, stability and handling, roof structures, cruise control systems, transmissions, starter and shift interlocks, seats, brakes, seatbelts, and airbags.

Such cases often involve sophisticated engineering and medical issues.  We have the experience to effectively address those issues and to present them in a manner that a jury can understand. Our attorneys bring to each of these cases a combination of trial and negotiating skill, solid technical knowledge, case management sophistication, and innovative trial strategies.

We have experience representing the following manufacturers:

Ford Motor Company—automobile product liability litigation,  regional coordinating   counsel in litigation throughout Texas,
Honda—ATV product liability litigation,
Jeep—automobile product liability litigation,
Volvo—automobile product liability litigation,
Volkswagen—automobile product liability litigation,
Nissan—automobile product liability litigation, and
Toyota—automobile product liability litigation
Polaris - ATV product liability litigation.

Reflecting Thompson Coe’s sophisticated appellate practice, our appellate lawyers are able to accompany trial counsel as part of the overall trial team, boosting our record on auto product liability appeals. Two examples illustrate the sophistication of our appellate capabilities.

  • Ford Motor Co. v. Ledesma: The Texas Supreme Court reversed the trial court in our appeal of this product liability lawsuit that alleged failure of a pickup truck’s spring and axle assembly, finding that the jury charge that defined a manufacturing defect was erroneous. We had identified this issue long before the case was ever tried, and the trial court’s adverse verdict gave us the opportunity to appeal – and ultimately to change the future jury instructions made in such cases.
  • Wright v. Ford Motor: The plaintiffs in this case, the first of its kind, alleged that the driver of a pickup truck struck and killed a child because the truck was designed with a “blind spot.” We secured a jury verdict for the manufacturer, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals. The appellate court supported our argument, based on a review of 2003 Texas tort reform changes, that the manufacturer was not liable in a products liability action if it complied with applicable federal safety regulations. This “presumption” argument was an ahead-of-the-curve strategy that will have wide application in future product liability litigation.

Consumer Products
Thompson Coe has served as first and second chairs in products liability litigation in state and federal courts throughout Texas (often as state or regional coordinating counsel), and in multiple jurisdictions nationwide. We represent manufacturers of appliances, fans and heaters, electronic devices, and children’s products. By developing an understanding of the design and function of our clients’ products, our goal is to face down opposing experts, undermine their methodology, and achieve successful outcomes.

Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals
We served as defense counsel for a major pharmaceutical company in the fen/phen litigation throughout Texas, and have also defended claims involving such products as asthma inhalers and surgical devices. In this work our lawyers have conducted numerous examinations of expert physicians, including pulmonologists, pathologists, radiologists, orthopedic surgeons, internists, and other treating physicians and medical care providers.

Industrial Products
The attorneys at Thompson Coe have broad experience and proven success in defending manufacturers of materials handling products, hauling and loading equipment, welding rods, rock-crushers, industrial/manufacturing machinery, wood-working machinery, and steel processing equipment.