Columbia Tower Seattle Columbia Tower Seattle

Products Liability Litigation


Karr Tuttle Campbell attorneys have seen both sides of products liability litigation, having represented gravely injured individuals as well as national and regional manufacturers and distributors of goods. Litigation in which our lawyers have experience involve a wide range of products: automobiles, trucks, aeronautical components, farm tractors, trailers, locomotives, outboard and inboard marine engines, boats and other marine equipment, major and minor household appliances, commercial food processing equipment, food and beverages, chemicals, paint and resins, all manner of engines, motorcycles, medical supplies and devices, electrical generators, motor control centers, playground equipment, lawnmowers, radios, televisions, and floor heaters.

Our attorneys have frequently been asked to address professional and industry groups regarding products liability.

Representative situations and examples of products involved in cases handled by the firm’s products liability group are described below.

Motor Vehicles

  • A plaintiff claimed brain damage and other injuries as a result of defective steering on a pickup truck.
  • A truck’s allegedly defective brake system was blamed for wrongful death and personal injury.
  • Quadriplegic injuries of a plaintiff were caused by a faulty A-pillar in sport sedan, according to claims in another matter.
  • An allegedly defective axle on a pickup led to a plaintiff’s claimed quadriplegic injuries
  • Personal injuries were caused by defective windshield according to another plaintiff’s claim.
  • Fuel fire cases.  Karr Tuttle Campbell served as Washington State counsel for a vehicle manufacturer in defending all aspects of claims that fuel storage systems on automobiles, light- and heavy-duty trucks and motor homes were defectively designed.
  • Our products liability group has handled many tractor-defect claims, primarily dealing with lack of roll-over protection systems (R.O.P.S.) and inadvertent acceleration.
  • We have also handled cases alleging exposure to hazardous chemicals in truck cabs, and allegation of a bumper-design defect resulting in wrongful death of plaintiff.
  • We provided counsel in a case involving a Japanese manufacturer and alleged manufacturing-defect arising from the sudden lockup of the braking system of a motorcycle, which severely injured the driver and a passenger.

Boats and Marine Equipment 

  • The firm has represented an outboard marine equipment and engine manufacturer in numerous matters involving claims of design and manufacturing negligence, product defect, and breach of warranty.  Products in these cases have included boats, motors (inboard and outboard), and various other marine components.

Drugs and Medical Devices

  • Latex glove litigation.   Karr Tuttle Campbell represented a major national manufacturer and distributor of latex gloves in many cases brought in state and federal courts in Washington by health care personnel claiming damages due to allergic reactions to latex gloves used while caring for patients.
  • DES litigation.   The firm represented a major pharmaceutical company in cases filed  in both federal and state courts in Washington, alleging that exposure to diethylstilbestrol during a mother’s pregnancy caused injury to the reproductive organs and resulted in other abnormalities.
  • Toxic shock litigation. Our attorneys represented a pharmaceutical and hygiene-products manufacturer in several cases where plaintiffs alleged that faulty tampon manufacture was responsible for contraction of toxic shock syndrome.
  • Karr Tuttle Campbell represented a medical equipment manufacturer in cases concerning alleged defects in catheters.

Food and Food Processing Equipment

  • E. coli litigation.  Karr Tuttle Campbell represented a national fast food restaurant chain, in state and federal court actions in Washington arising from the consumption of food products allegedly containing E. coli.  We also served as national supervising counsel, charged with the direction and coordination of the defense of similar cases in other western states.
  • An alleged defect in a seafood-processing machine and a severe personal injury were involved in a case in which the firm represented a Japanese manufacturer. We handled numerous cases involving claimed malfunctions in choppers, slicers, skinners and other products used in the food-processing business. In one case, for instance, plaintiff lost his arm in a meat grinder.
  • Our attorneys represented a manufacturer of food processing equipment in a claim brought in federal court alleging permanent disability due to respiratory problems arising from the use of  polyvinyl chloride meat-wrapping film.  A jury trial resulted in a defense verdict.
  • An Iowa manufacturer of a fish-skinning machine and sausage-stuffing machines, among other equipment used worldwide in the food-preparation industry, was defended in cases including hand injury claims.
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome litigation.  Karr Tuttle Campbell represented a brewing company in fetal alcohol syndrome cases filed in Western Washington.  These were the first lawsuits filed in the United States against manufacturers of alcoholic beverages alleging that maternal drinking caused fetal alcohol syndrome.  After extensive investigation and discovery, the cases involving the firm’s client were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs.

Electrical Component Manufacturers

  • Karr Tuttle represented a manufacturer of controls used on a Washington State ferry that crashed into Coleman Dock in Seattle.  A multimillion dollar property damage suit was settled out of court, favorable to defendant.
  • A case our lawyers took to trial  involved alleged defective design of an electrical panel, resulting in electrocution of plaintiff.  The suit resulted in a verdict favorable for the manufacturer.
  • In another matter, plaintiff claimed that a building fire was caused by a defective fluorescent lighting fixture.
  • Karr Tuttle Campbell handled cases in Washington, Alaska, and Oklahoma that involved allegedly defective generators and other electrical apparati.

Small Appliance Manufacturers

  • The firm represented one client in connection with a suit involving a house fire allegedly caused by defective home-stereo equipment sold by the client.
  • We represented another company in connection with allegations of defective fire extinguishers.
  • A manufacturer of swimming pool filters and pumps was represented in a case involving an alleged defective pump cap blamed for an eye injury.