Product Liability Litigation

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Discovery Center
Our Approach to Litigation
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King & Spalding has one of the largest, longest-standing, and most highly regarded product liability practices in the country.  Our product liability group is comprised of 37 partners and more than 200 additional lawyers.  It spans the country, with lawyers in Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  In addition, our team is able to draw on the specialized assistance of other lawyers for product liability matters, including FDA regulatory and appellate specialists. 

Our product liability and mass tort practice has been recognized as one of the best in the nation.  (The American Lawyer – Top 3 product liability practice, 2012; Chambers USA – Top 10 product liability practice in the US, 2011; Law360 – 2014 and 2012 product liability ‘Practice Group of the Year’; and U.S. News and World Reports – Top Tier National Mass Torts, 2013.) We are known for our deep trial bench and success handling a wide range of product liability and mass tort litigation, including pharmaceutical, consumer products, chemical, and automotive matters.  We have a nationwide practice, represent product liability clients in individual, class action, and coordinated/mass tort cases at the trial and appellate levels, and defend our clients in the most difficult jurisdictions in the U.S. 

The following are signatures of our product liability / mass tort practice:

  • We try tough cases and win.  We have a deep bench of first-chair trial lawyers, which is unusual for large firms. Our diverse product liability team includes four Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers: Chilton Varner, Ray Persons, Bobby Meadows and Richard “Doc” Schneider.  Chilton Varner is the immediate past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was recently recognized by Law 360 as an “MVP” in the product liability litigation category. 

  • We are national coordinating counsel.  We have served as national and regional counsel for clients in numerous industries, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, energy, chemicals and pesticides, tobacco, automotive, medical services, heavy equipment, consumer products, and food and beverage. 

  • We have a first tier class action practice.  Law360 has recognized King & Spalding’s class action lawyers in 2011 and 2013 as “a Class Action Group of the Year.”  In the past eight years, we have handled more than 250 class actions, almost all of which have been dismissed or effectively resolved at relatively early stages and on terms favorable to our clients.  We are one of a few firms in the country to have tried class action lawsuits to verdict. 
    For more than ten years, King & Spalding has fielded a specialized group of attorneys whose practice focuses on the scientific and regulatory aspects of tort litigation. The Science Practice Group includes more than 20 attorneys as well as scientific consultants, led by cardiologist and former Harvard Professor of Medicine Dr. Beverly Lorell.  

Clients of the firm can also take advantage of expertise available from members of the firm’s Food & Drug Administration regulatory practice, and our legislative practice, which includes lawyers focusing on Congressional investigations. 

The firm’s Product Liability & Mass Tort Defense practice is supported by its Discovery Center, an off-site facility staffed by more than 200 full-time firm employees, including partners, counsel, staff attorneys, project attorneys, paralegals and litigation technology support professionals.  The Discovery Center, established in 1995 at the request of a product liability client, has handled some of the most complex, document-intensive litigation and investigations and has never been sanctioned in its history.  It is one of the largest dedicated document review centers in the world in both headcount and workload and has produced documents or responded to discovery in all 50 states and four foreign countries. 

Our team and its members have been repeatedly recognized for excellence in the product liability arena.  Recent accolades include:

  • Recognition by The American Lawyer as having one of the top three product liability practices in the United States.  This included citing the firm as one “that companies call on to handle the most delicate matters and navigate the toughest jurisdictions.” 
  • Selected by Law 360 as a 2014 ‘Practice of the Year’ for product liability.  Also, selected by Law 360 as a 2013 ‘Practice of the Year’ for class actions and environmental law. The selection was made by a team of Law360 editors based on the groups that achieved the biggest wins in the most important cases.
  • King & Spalding also ranked among the “most decorated law firms” in The American Lawyer’s inaugural Litigation Power Rankings. This ranking lists the 25 firms that have fared the best since the inception of the publication’s “Litigation Department of the Year” competition a decade ago. 
  • Chilton Varner was named a “Super All-Star” in BTI Consulting Group’s annual client service survey—one of only four lawyers nationwide to receive this recognition. Clients praised Chilton for “her exceptional understanding of client needs,” and described her as a “superb trial lawyer” with “impeccable judgment,” according to the BTI survey.
  • Named by Benchmark as the “Product Liability Firm of the Year” in a 14-state region for its work in product liability matters. 
  • Identification of the firm in The U.S. News and World Report “Best Law Firm” survey as one of the top law firms in the United States.  Among the 38 national rankings, the firm earned tier-one designations in 18 practice areas, including for mass tort litigation/class actions.  
  • In The Best Lawyers Guide for 2014, firm lawyers earned 227 listings.  Among these are Patricia Barmeyer, Randy Bassett, Andrew Bayman, Gus Filice, Jeff Furr, Lewis Jones, Les Oakes, Bobby Meadows, Ray Persons, Tracie Renfroe, Kathy Rhyne, Doc Schneider, Peter Strotz, Chilton Varner and Fritz Zimmer.
  • Ray Persons and Chilton Varner were among 13 King & Spalding lawyers that Best Lawyers in America identified as 2013 Lawyers of the Year—individuals who receive particularly high levels of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism and integrity. Varner, Jeffrey Furr and Tracie Renfroe were recognized in the 2012 list.
  • Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation, a new guide from Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Legal Media Group, named Chilton Varner as a top 10 female litigator in the United States, and also profiled partner Tracie Renfroe as one of 11 Texas female litigators.
  • Andy Bayman and Chilton Varner were named as “Life Sciences Stars” by Legal Media Group in the first edition of LMG Life Sciences.

Andrew T Bayman (Andy) 
T: +1 404 572 3583 ATLANTA
Carol M Wood 
T: +1 713 751 3209 HOUSTON