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Product Liability

"A firm and a team that you can count on." - Client Testimonial, Chambers Canada

Product liability litigation in Canada is in a constant state of development. With the recent adoption of class action legislation in various provinces, copycat litigation, movement towards no-fault or restricted recovery in motor-vehicle accident claims, increased recognition of the duty to preserve evidence, and the development of punitive and exemplary damages awards, clients need legal advisors with experience in these issues.

At Cassels Brock, we enjoy a distinct advantage as experts not only in the area of product liability, but also in the defence of class actions - a ripe area for product liability. Because our dedicated teams of lawyers have expertise across a broad range of fields - from insurance and commercial litigation to the Competition Act and regulatory areas - we bring a depth and breadth of experience to the table at any time; in addition, we are recognized as a leading law firm in this area by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

The Product Liability Group at Cassels Brock looks for the most inventive, cost-effective and time-efficient means of resolving each of our clients' issues. Resolution may be achieved through negotiated settlements, alternate dispute resolution, or vigorous litigation. When necessary we take our cases to trial to resolve our clients' disputes.

We have advised and represented a variety of clients in virtually all industries, including aircraft manufacturers; brand-name pharmaceutical and medical device companies; computer hardware and software manufacturers; construction and building-material companies; elevator and escalator manufacturers; insurance companies; manufacturers and distributors of consumer, motor-vehicle and recreational products; personal-care product manufacturers; processed foods and beverages companies; standards organizations; and municipal, provincial and federal authorities.

Our areas of expertise include:


  • Advising on label warnings and product literature
  • Creating or revising product liability procedures
  • Designing product warranties, supply and distribution agreements
  • Advising on direct investigations
  • Drafting contractual provisions to reduce/transfer product liability risk
  • Providing insurance coverage opinions
  • Conducting risk-management training seminars
  • Conducting risk-management and due-diligence audits
  • Suggesting pre-emptive measures to avoid or prepare for anticipated litigation

Product litigation:

  • Claims related to sport utility vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles
  • Product warnings and regulatory issues related to motor vehicle airbags
  • Claims for implanted medical devices, such as heart valves, pacemakers, breast and jaw implants
  • Claims arising from adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals, including the duty to warn
  • Hazardous malfunctions of furnaces
  • Risks arising from car door latches
  • Risks arising from elevating devices
  • Claims relating to industrial equipment
  • Claims arising from consumer products

Class action lawsuits:

  • Motor vehicles
  • Medical devices
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Consumer products
  • Home-heating systems
  • Contaminated water
  • Residential plumbing systems

Cross-border litigation:

  • Working with or acting as lead counsel
  • Management of multi-jurisdictional litigation
  • Serving as national co-ordinating counsel
  • Working with other counsel as part of a virtual law firm

Our group has successfully represented clients in class action product liability claims, including:

  • Acting as lead and national co-ordinating counsel for the Canadian distributor of defective American-made temporomandibular joint implants, and achieving a favourable resolution of the resulting class action lawsuits and individual claims
  • Acting for the owner of an elevating boom machine, following the death of two workers who fell from the elevating machine’s basket while inspecting the roof of Toronto’s premiere stadium entertainment centre, and achieving favourable results at the coroner’s inquest and in two separate lawsuits brought by the workers’ families
  • Acting for a food-processor manufacturer faced with a single claim involving an allegedly malfunctioning product, and resulting in the discovery that the product had been damaged through abuse and misuse
  • Acting in a motion on a class action lawsuit over alleged vitamin price-fixing, resulting in the appointment of a case-management judge; the case is significant in that the six interwoven proposed class actions have separate plaintiffs, identical issues and common defendants, were begun in three different judicial regions, and have outstanding overlapping conflicting motions pending before different judges in different regions, with claims for damages exceeding $2 billion
  • Acting for an automobile distributor and achieving the successful resolution of litigation following the persistent pursuit of motions seeking sanctions for the destruction and tampering of evidence by adverse parties