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Products liability matters have grown in recent years in volume, scope, and complexity. They often require handling multiple fronts of litigation and the potential for exposure to numerous constituents. On the regulatory side, companies often must negotiate not only with their primary regulator, but also with other regulatory agencies (including the Department of Justice and state attorneys general coalitions). In civil litigation, consumers are increasingly bringing product claims using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) in order to manufacture treble damages claims. And MDL courts are increasingly directing the parties to engage in settlement discussions at the early stages of the litigation, before significant resources are spent on discovery, which puts even more importance on the company’s early motion to dismiss arguments.
Using recent cases involving automobile manufacturers as a case study, please join William B. Monahan and Thomas C. White of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as they discuss how companies can best manage these multiple fronts of products liability exposure, particularly at the outset of litigation, including:
- Dealing with your primary regulator, and considerations of how and when to expand discussions to include other federal and state regulators;
- Early settlement considerations and the evolving role of an MDL judge in determining how and when the parties should have those discussions;
- Procedural issues relating to products liability class actions, including removal to federal court and the formation of MDLs; and
- Threshold arguments for a motion to dismiss, including regarding standing, preemption, “puffery” and opinion statements, and reliance.