Products Liability & Mass Tort

Drinker Biddle brings to products liability and mass tort litigation exceptional breadth and depth of experience.  The products liability practice group includes over sixty lawyers, with a national presence in the firm’s offices across the country.  Drinker Biddle lawyers have successfully tried cases from “bet the company” to individual claims in courts around the country, handled class action and Daubert hearings, and have achieved numerous other victories through dispositive motions and on appeal.  Our recent representations have included substantial matters pending in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arizona and California.  As a leader in the national, regional and local management of mass tort and class action litigation, we closely coordinate our work on a team basis with corporate and local counsel.

A Wealth of Experience

Drinker Biddle’s products liability and mass tort experience touches leading commercial, medical, scientific and industrial enterprises and involves critical issues and challenges currently facing the defense community.

Pharmaceuticals and National Coordination.  Drinker Biddle lawyers have been at the forefront of innovations in the management of national pharmaceutical litigation.  Our present and recent engagements as national coordinating counsel in major pharmaceutical and medical device litigation involve numerous different products for many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers.  Many of our cases have involved federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), and we have developed effective coordination strategies to deal with simultaneous federal and state court litigation.

Across Drinker Biddle’s offices, our national lawyer teams serve clients as one firm.  We have also developed an extensive network of pharmaceutical lawyers throughout the country with whom we have worked successfully in the past.  The firm matches its strengths with those of its local counsel to help achieve cost-effective representation.  As litigation progresses, we often work with those lawyers in ways that go well beyond the traditional role of local counsel.  Their efforts can, for example, include assistance with company witness preparation, locating and contacting potential expert witnesses, work on document production and participation during trial.  We also represent our clients as regional or local counsel, defending individual claims and working as part of teams assembled by clients.

Class Action, Punitive Damages and Daubert Issues.  Drinker Biddle’s reputation as one of the top class action defense firms in the country results from its enormous fund of experience in defending against alleged class actions across a broad range of products litigation as well as antitrust, employment and securities litigation.

Defense against punitive damages claims has also come to play a critical role in mass tort and products litigation.  Drinker Biddle lawyers have substantial and successful experience in building the factual and legal foundations on which to counter such claims.

We have similar experience in developing a record and molding the arguments with regard to Daubert motions.

Toxic Torts and Chemicals.  Drinker Biddle’s toxic tort experience has covered a spectrum of cases including asbestos containing products, solvents and dyes, lead paint, silica, pesticides, industrial waste products and chemicals.  This work also draws upon the firm’s environmental practice group.

Other Products.  We represent a leading wireless communications provider in extensive and geographically dispersed litigation involving allegations of products liability. Our experience also has included litigation involving medical software, nuclear facilities and other high tech products, playground equipment, food additives, over-the-counter medication, elevators and escalators, military explosives and agricultural products liability.  In the machinery area, we have represented a variety of U.S. and foreign manufacturers of everything from food processors to automobiles and industrial jacks to electrical and large manufacturing equipment. Our assignments for a variety of clients involve defending against allegations of consumer fraud or other assorted monetary or property damage.

Electronic and Paper Discovery.  The conduct and management of discovery can have a significant impact on both the outcome and expense of litigation. Recently, rapid growth in electronic discovery has increased significantly the scope and complexity of this work.  Drinker Biddle has extensive experience in meeting these challenges.  Drinker lawyers have, for example, designed and implemented preservation, collection and production programs for paper and electronic discovery in individual cases and on a massive scale.

The Drinker Biddle Trial Team.

In an era when many lawyers seldom go to court, Drinker Biddle clients are afforded the advantage of our extensive trial experience.  We count among our lawyers Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and/or American Board of Trial Advocates.  A number of our lawyers admitted to practice in New Jersey are certified as civil trial attorneys and/or are masters in local inns of court, the preeminent training place for young trial lawyers today.

Our experienced trial lawyers are led by Drinker Biddle partners with national reputations located in various offices across the country.  This leadership is complemented by the strength and depth afforded by numerous additional partners with extensive experience with mass tort and products liability litigation.  Drinker Biddle’s products liability lawyers also actively participate – as members, officers, authors and lecturers – in the principal organizations that serve the defense community and the products liability bar.

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Our commitment to diversity at Drinker Biddle reflects our belief that by more accurately reflecting our clients and our communities, we are more effectively positioned to understand their needs and objectives, in all their many facets.

Creativity, innovation, cooperation and mutual respect are the natural result of an environment in which individual contributions are valued, where biases based on race, gender and other factors are absent, and legal knowledge combines with unique world views. Drinker Biddle has always had a commitment to civility and respect for all, and this is reflected in our core values and business strategy. We embrace an evolving and tolerant firm culture, one that is eager to engage and include colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds.

Diversity Committee

Our Firmwide Diversity Committee is charged with ensuring our firm reflects the rich diversity of the communities and clients we serve. As such, one of the committee’s primary objectives is to proactively recruit, retain, promote to partner and foster the professional development of talented minority lawyers. The committee is co-chaired by one of our most senior partners, Neil Haimm, and Jesse Ruiz, one of the country’s most energetic and talented Latino lawyers. More broadly, the committee is charged with implementing various programs and processes in the Diversity Strategic Plan, including (but not limited to) recruiting, retention, assignment management and overall associate development.

We also have established Regional Diversity Committees that can concentrate on our diversity goals at the local level. Most have established working groups that concentrate on the areas of hiring, retention and development, marketing and client development, and staff alignment and initiatives.


The firm’s commitment to diversity is demonstrated by its many efforts to recruit minority law school graduates and experienced lawyers. We regularly help coordinate and participate in a number of minority attorney recruitment programs. Members of our hiring committee and recruitment staff travel to law schools around the country, meeting with first-year minority students to increase interest in the firm’s Summer Associate program and conducting interviews with graduating students for our associate positions.

Further, the firm regularly offers time, money and other resources to help support and encourage minority students as they pursue their educational and professional goals. We work with student groups at various law schools to provide mentoring and financial assistance. We sponsor scholarships given annually to deserving minority law students by the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois and the Cook County Bar Association, and we sponsor scholarships and paid internships for deserving minority students at the newly formed Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia.

In addition, resources are dedicated to ensure that our diversity commitment is reflected in our hiring practices. A few of our efforts include participating in minority job fairs nationally (Vault/MCCA Job Fair, Cook County Minority Job Fair, Philadelphia Area Minority Job Fair, etc.), committing to hire at least one summer associate through a minority-focused organization (Philadelphia Diversity Law Group), ensuring that our firm’s core interviewer group has a diverse constituency, insisting upon diverse representation in interview schedules, financially supporting minority law student organizations nationally (Black Lawyers Student Association, Latin American Student Association, ALIANZA), placing job postings on websites targeted to a diverse lawyer audience (MCCA, Hot, etc.) and holding outreach activities to meet minority candidates and foster minority hiring practices in various cities in which we maintain offices.

Sponsorship and Organization of Major Events

Drinker Biddle sponsors, organizes and participates in a variety of major events addressing issues important to women and minorities both in the legal profession and in the wider business communities that we serve. The following list is a sampling of recent events; you can also click here to see the events that the Diversity Committee has hosted:

  • American Conference on Diversity Humanitarian Dinner
  • Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia Annual Barrister’s Ball
  • California Minority Counsel Program 19th Annual Business Meeting
  • The Enterprise Center’s “Passing the Torch” Awards
  • Garden State Bar Association’s 33rd Anniversary Scholarship & Awards Gala
  • Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois Annual Awards
  • Hispanic National Bar Association National Convention 
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Annual Gala
  • National Association of Women Lawyers Annual Meeting
  • NBA/WLD “Celebration of Firsts” Awards
  • NBA Healthcare Law Symposium 2008
  • National South Asian Bar Association 5th Annual Convention
  • MCCA Midwest Region Diversity Dinner
  • MCCA Northeast Region Diversity Dinner
  • Philadelphia POWER Seminars and Dinner
  • Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc. Annual Awards
  • Villanova University School of Law 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium


Professional Development

Once a lawyer has joined our firm, our work is far from complete. A stable, supportive environment is critical to encouraging the exploration of professional interests and the ongoing development of legal skills.

The firm has established varied mentoring programs: a peer integration mentor is assigned for every new associate’s first year at the firm, a Diversity Committee Watch Program has been put into place (minority associates are tracked to ensure that they are given ample opportunity to work on our most significant matters and clients) and a voluntary “opt-in” mentor program in which associates select their own mentors among partners has been initiated.