Practice & Industry Expertise

Heavy Equipment

In addition to the firm’s decades long and comprehensive work with world’s motor vehicle manufacturers, the firm represents the leading manufacturers of construction and industrial equipment in products liability and commercial warranty actions in state and federal courts across much of the Northeast. The firm successfully concluded nationwide class action warranty actions brought in the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Southern District of Florida regarding Caterpillar’s marine diesel engines. The case pending in Michigan terminated after 6 years of litigation with an order decertifying the class and dismissing the class representative’s claim with prejudice and with an award of costs. The Florida case ended with an order denying class certification based on the Michigan court’s dispositive order and the failure of the class representative (and class counsel) to appeal. That case too was dismissed with prejudice.

Heavy equipment and industrial machine products liability and warranty litigation often involves state of the art technology and complex questions of science, engineering, and medicine. The nature of the claims made include vehicle and load stability, rollover and tipover resistance, roof structures and rollover protective devices, operator restraints, machine control features, visibility and accident avoidance. Technical disciplines span mechanical engineering, metallurgy, physics, dynamics, fuel systems, combustion engineering, fluid dynamics, hydraulics, electronics and electrical engineering, ergonomics, biomechanics, and injury mechanisms and require detailed knowledge of industry standards promulgated by associations like ANSI, ASTM, and SAE. Legal issues involve federal statutes and regulations promulgated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, federal statutory and decisional law on preemption and the Class Action Fairness Act, and numerous state common and statutory laws applicable to strict liability, warranty, unfair and deceptive practices, and negligence. Legal and engineering issues also involve European Union Directives and foreign industry associations such as the Construction Equipment Association (UK), Construction Plant-Hire Association (UK), Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group (AU), Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (AU), and Japan Society of Automotive Engineers.


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