Tort & Products Liability

Our Tort and Products Liability Practice includes extensive experience and expertise with claims involving:

  • Complex Litigation;

  • Civil Rights;

  • Major Motor Vehicle/Mobile Equipment;

  • Defamation, Malicious Prosecution/SLAPP suits;

  • Premises Liability;

  • Products Liability; and,

  • Property Disputes (including land subsidence and boundary disputes).

Our Firm’s philosophy is to involve our clients in the litigation process to ensure that their interests are fully protected and that the stakeholders have input into the litigation plan. Our ultimate goal is always to advance our clients’ interests, whether that be through settling a dispute as the most cost effective and final means of resolution, or being prepared to take any matter through trial and, if necessary, appeal to the highest courts.

While we always prepare each case for potential trial, we strongly promote Alternative Dispute Resolution where possible to achieve the most cost effective and efficient resolution. Our attorneys have acted in all capacities in the Alternative Dispute Resolution process from representation of plaintiffs and defendants, to coverage counsel for insurance carriers, to mediators, arbitrators and judges pro tem. This wide range of views toward the Alternative Dispute Resolution process allows us to maximize opportunities for potential settlement to the advantage of our clients.

If, however, a matter cannot be resolved short of trial, we are fully prepared to vigorously try any case in a manner consistent with, and in coordination with, the client’s overall litigation plan, goals and considerations. We have handled cases involving hundreds of claimants and potential witnesses and tens of thousands of pages of documents. We believe that early strategic and tactical evaluation and action can allow us to dictate the course of the litigation on behalf of and better protect our client’s interests.

Key Tort and Products Liability Sub-Practice Areas:

Complex Litigation

Tarkington, O’Neill, Barrack & Chong has handled thousands of complex litigation matters involving construction defects, toxic torts, and large scale catastrophic claims. We have taken leadership roles on coordinating committees to ensure the fast, fair and economical handling and resolution of claims. In many cases, this has included working closely and cooperatively with counsel, the court and the clients to achieve an appropriate forward looking litigation strategy intended to efficiently resolve these disputes while protecting the interests of our clients.

As an example, we defended one of the target defendants in a major, high-profile construction catastrophe which resulted in over $30 million in claims for personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage. We developed and implemented a litigation strategy which resulted in early, amicable resolution of the most potentially dangerous claims while maximizing the participation and contributions of a key co-defendant with limited insurance coverage. Our leadership in this litigation built our reputation for trustworthiness among the claimant community, took significant political and economic pressure off of the defendants, and resulted in excellent working relationships with the court and counsel.

Civil Rights

Examples of cases handled by our attorneys include:

  • Defense of local, metropolitan city and police force against claims of discrimination and prisoner abuse with overtones of widespread corruption;

  • Defense of property owner/manager against claims of discrimination based on race and age;

  • Defense of program administrator against alleged infringement of free speech and press rights;

  • Defense of independent municipal agency against claims of procedural and substantive due process violations relating to property rights and entitlements.

We are sensitive to the significant potential adverse impact such claims may have on our clients and believe that proactive management of the litigation and its potential consequences are a high priority.

Major Motor Vehicle/Mobile Equipment

Tarkington, O’Neill Barrack & Chong has defended individual clients to small and large business entities including farm owners, manufacturers, trucking companies, and construction equipment companies in numerous, serious catastrophic injury claims arising from the use of motor vehicles and mobile equipment. With injuries ranging from soft tissue to multiple wrongful deaths or permanent paralysis, motor vehicles  and mobile equipment claims involve a multitude of factors and a wide range of conditions requiring expertise in medical, legal and scientific fields to quickly and efficiently identify key liability and damages issues which may impact liability and/or implicate other potentially responsible persons. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to quickly and efficiently identify key issues and to make strategic recommendations to minimize liability at an early stage. 

A sampling of Major Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment cases handled by our attorneys include:

  • Defense of concrete ready mix supply company in truck-vehicle accident resulting in wrongful death.

  • Defense of serious bodily injury claim allegedly caused by defect in farm equipment power take-off unit.

  • Defense of mobile lift manufacturer against “tip over” wrongful death claim;

  • Defense of property owner against ATV roll-over accident resulting in serious, permanent physical disability;

  • Defense of vessel owner/marina from death, serious bodily injury claims arising from alleged defects in water craft; and,

  • UM/UIM claim involving death or serious injury to multiple occupants in high speed rural road accident.

Defamation, Malicious Prosecution/SLAPP suits

Claims relating to speech and litigation rights may also implicate Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits. The firm has the both defended and brought Anti-SLAPP and Anti-SLAPP Back motions which may be brought early in the litigation when little is known about the claims and or the interaction between or among the parties. 

Premises Liability

Representative matters handled by our attorneys include:

  • Defense of owner and manager of large residential rental property against claims of swimming pool electrocution resulting in death and serious bodily injury.

  • Defense of owner and manager of large residential rental property against claims of third party criminal conduct resulting in death and serious injury.

  • Defense of owner and manager of large residential rental property against claims of defective condition on property resulting in multi-story fall and serious head injury.

  • Defense of owner and manager of large commercial property against landslide claims involving property damage and personal injury.

  • Defense of property manager against claims of discriminatory conduct by independent security contractor.

Products Liability

Our attorneys have handled numerous products liability cases including those involving:

  • Motor Vehicle: Seat belts, brake systems, roll-over, door latches, fuel systems, ATVs

  • Watercraft: Electrical systems, cut-off devices, fuel systems

  • Agricultural Equipment: Tractors, harvesters, mowers, PTO devices

  • Manufacturing Equipment: Plastic extruders, high temperature molding equipment

  • Recreational Equipment: Ski gear, exercise equipment, gravity tilt boards, firearms

  • Construction Equipment: Tower cranes, mobile cranes, man lifts, graders, spray guns

  • Construction Products: Insulation, plastic and copper pipe, windows/sliding glass doors, waterproof membranes, panelized exterior siding, stucco

Property Disputes (including land subsidence and boundary disputes)

Tarkington, O’Neill, Barrack & Chong has represented numerous persons and entities in disputes between and among adjacent property owners. These claims include everything from boundary disputes to subsidence, trespass and nuisance claims. We understand that claims involving adjacent property owners can have non-economic overtones which must be treated with sensitivity and understanding in order to successfully and finally resolve such claims through the most appropriate process.