Practice Area

Pharmaceutical, Medical Products and Tort Litigation


Pharmaceutical and Products Liability Defense

The term “product liability” generally refers to the liability of a manufacturer, processor or nonmanufacturing seller for injury to the person of property of a buyer or third party caused by a product which has been sold. Generally speaking, there are three different types of product liability claims; manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to warn claims.

In Pennsylvania, a plaintiff can bring a cause of action against the manufacturer, seller or distributor of a product under strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty claims.

The attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., have significant experience defending manufacturers, sellers and distributors of a variety of products in Pennsylvania and beyond from the time of the initial claim through trial in state and federal courts.

Applicable Law in Pennsylvania Products Liability Actions

The landscape of products liability law in Pennsylvania is uncertain. We currently have a split of authority with regard to whether the Restatement Second of Torts of the Restatement Third of Torts should be applied substantively in Pennsylvania products liability cases. This rift has existed for quite some time, and the split now is between the state and federal courts, and in some respects between the several federal courts and judges.

Over the last two years, the federal courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western District of Pennsylvania have issued opinions which favor alternatively both the Restatement Second and the Restatement Third in products liability cases. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, has do far held that the Restatement Second is to be applied in all strict products liability cases in Pennsylvania.

This may change soon, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is currently evaluating whether to replace the Restatement Second with the Restatement Third in Pennsylvania.

Our Knowledge and Experience in Pennsylvania Products Liability Cases

In this climate of uncertainty, our attorneys have been trial counsel for product manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, and they have frequently acted as local counsel to not only guide clients through the procedural complexities of Pennsylvania practice, but to also advise and guide clients through the unpredictable substantive areas of the law which have either changed, are changing or are up for interpretation.

The attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., have experience in handling significant pharmaceutical, products liability and tort claims, including matters involving allegations of professional negligence, strict products liability, breach of warranty, failure to warn, drug and device, compounding pharmacy liability and personal injury.

From our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, our lawyers serve clients primarily in Pennsylvania, but also in other jurisdictions on a special admission basis.

Representative Tort Defense Litigation

The firm’s trial experience in tort defense litigation includes the following matters:

  • Defending manufacturer/seller against negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability claims allegedly resulting in death, from allegedly defective/contaminated pharmaceutical products.
  • Defending compounding pharmacy against negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability claims allegedly resulting in death and brain injury, from allegedly defective/contaminated compound medications.
  • Representing plaintiff in medical malpractice action against her surgeon for damages related to sepsis arising from puncture that occurred during abdominal surgery.
  • Defending business entities against claims for wrongful death and personal injuries caused by the criminal actions of third parties and employees.
  • Representing plaintiff who sustained serious injuries when she fell from front door as a result of removal of front porch by contractor.
  • Defending an over-the-counter drug manufacturer in a multiple-defendant wrongful death action against claims of inadequate quality assurance, improper testing and inadequacy of warning to consumer.
  • Defending supplier of prescription pharmaceuticals against claims of failure to warn or adequately control access brought by estate of psychiatric patient who committed suicide by antidepressant overdose.
  • Representing designer/manufacturer of electric controls system for forge against claims of improper design, failure to include adequate safety devices and failure to provide adequate warnings, resulting in amputation.
  • Defending major auto manufacturers in sudden acceleration products liability case.
  • Defending seller of heavy equipment in a products liability case involving serious brain injury from forklift accident.
  • Representing plaintiff who was seriously injured when he passed out leaving a dentist’s office as a result of anesthesia.
  • Defending manufacturer and designer of industrial water filtration device in products liability action alleging failure to properly guard the subject machine.
  • Defense of auto manufacturer in rollover case.
  • Defense of manufacturer of pasta-making equipment in products liability case involving a partial amputation.
  • Defense of manufacturer of kerosene heaters in products liability action alleging personal injury and property damage arising out of a fire.
  • Defense of hospital in medical malpractice litigation involving alleged permanent injuries to child.
  • Defense of physician in medical malpractice action alleging failure to properly diagnose.
  • Defense of securities broker-dealer firm in NASD arbitration action involving claims of unsuitability and churning.
  • Defense of securities broker-dealer firm in seven federal securities cases brought by customer of firm alleging misappropriation of funds by broker.
  • The defense of a supplier of welding wire in products liability action seeking consequential damages allegedly incurred because of replacement of piping system due to failure of welding wire to meet specifications.

Contact Our Pennsylvania Product Liability Attorneys Today

For more information, call 412-281-5060 or send our pharmaceutical and products liability attorneys an e-mail.