Cotten Schmidt

Understanding Premises and Products Liability

Product Liability Law written on paper

Corporate America has found itself under attack in an ever-increasing onslaught of claims and lawsuits arising from the very locations where it provides America with its jobs and products.  The attacks come in various forms, “Premises claims” and “Products claims” are the most common.  

Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. has been successfully providing its clients representation in these areas obtaining dismissals and limiting recoveries for more than twenty years.  We are proud to say we get things done for our clients whatever the need may be.  For instance, at the beginning of every new matter, we perform an early case assessment to assist the client in evaluating how best to proceed. 

We believe knowing our client’s business is critical and it helps us partner with the client in defining what is a “win” in each individual and particular matter.  If a case should be resolved on the front end due to a case of liability, we assist the client to come to that recognition at the earliest point possible.  By doing so, we minimize the client’s transaction costs. 

In other cases, the path may include asserting pure legal defenses through motion practice which can be dispositive of the case without the expense of discovery.  In those cases that cannot be resolved early, we offer experienced trial counsel with hundreds of trials under the firm’s collective belt. 

Depending on the circumstances that have required them, our trials have included demands against our clients for as little as several thousand dollars ranging to over $1 Billion dollars.

Our firm’s experience includes many products and premises trials over the years together with our serving as lead counsel in regional and state management of mass premises and products tort matters, which include MDL proceedings and class actions. Our experience includes matters involving:

  • agricultural and chemical products

  • asbestos

  • automotive

  • aviation

  • benzene and other chemical exposures

  • construction site injuries and death

  • dioxins

  • endoscope reprocessors

  • energy

  • environmental exposures

  • furans

  • hearing loss

  • heavy metals

  • industrial and chemical facility injuries and death

  • medical monitoring

  • naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM)

  • pharmaceuticals

  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

  • silica matters

  • table saws

  • toxic, environmental exposures, and damage

  • welding rod

We are proud to serve as one of DuPont’s Primary Law Firms (“PLF”) in the States of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and have done so for over 20 years. The DuPont Legal Network is comprised of 39 PLFs worldwide, 10 service providers, and diverse legal suppliers all committed to the fundamental principles of DuPont’s innovative Legal Model. Those principles are (1) belief in the value of applying business discipline to the practice of law, (2) in the unified power of strategic partnering, and (3) the competitive edge of a collaborative culture, supported by the latest in information technology. Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. has been recognized by DuPont on eight (8) separate occasions as a recipient of its Legal Challenge Award, an award that recognizes PLFs and Service Providers for extraordinary contributions and accomplishments that have advanced the objectives of the DuPont Legal Model. In addition, the firm is very proud that Larry Abbott and Larry Cotten have both received the high distinction of the DuPont Leader’s Circle Award, an award given to only one outside counsel per year.

In its work for DuPont, Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. has served as regional (multi-state) counsel in the successful defense of the TMJ implant litigation. DuPont won every TMJ case that was decided to a final judgment by the courts. Fifty-six (56) courts in a row ruled in favor of DuPont and every appellate court ruling was also in favor of DuPont. A defense judgment or favorable dismissal was entered for DuPont on all of the claims.

In the Benlate™ litigation, as a part of winning a trial in Parker County, Texas, Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. successfully established the acceptance of the Daubert standard in Texas for the admission of expert witness testimony, which was adopted by the Texas Supreme Court in E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549 (Tex. 1995).

In silica litigation, our attorneys obtained dismissals of approximately 30,000 product liability claims in Mississippi. The dismissal of the claims eliminated every silica-related claim against DuPont in the State of Mississippi without ever paying a dime.

Regarding dioxin litigation, attorneys from our firm defended DuPont against approximately 2,300 claimants alleging exposure to dioxins, furans, and heavy metals. Of the two individual Plaintiffs’ cases that went to trial, we were ultimately successful in obtaining defense jury verdicts in both.

Although the firm has many other clients involved in premises and product liability, we incorporate the philosophy and principles of The DuPont Legal Model into each client relationship.

The Firm has lawyers experienced in almost every area of premises and products liability, and more generally, civil and trial practice in all state and federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  With attorneys licensed in 10 states and owing to our close relationships with other law firms around the country, primarily the other PLFs of The DuPont Network, our practice of law extends beyond the various Gulf states.

Our lawyers represent manufacturers in defense of personal injury and property damage claims against their products across several industries, including Agricultural, Automotive, Construction, Consumer Products, Cranes and Arial Devices, Industrial machinery, Mining and Material Moving equipment, and Maritime products. We work closely with our clients and their engineers to, not only defend their cases at trial but to investigate before a suit is filed to help avoid litigation. We also counsel and assist our clients with warranty issues and with dealership agreement disputes.