Product Liability & Casualty Litigation
For more than forty years, Balch has defended and prosecuted a wide range of claims such as products liability cases, electrocution cases, premises liability cases, toxic tort cases and vehicular/trucking accidents. These cases involve catastrophic injuries and loss such as paralysis, loss of limbs and disfigurement, making them extremely challenging and at times, high profile litigation for the client.
As with any field of litigation, many of these property and casualty suits are resolved by settlement. For those matters that cannot be resolved by settlement, our attorneys have extensive experience in resolving such disputes through jury trials. Some representative jury trials in this area include:
- Products Liability
- Wrongful Death
- Fire – Cause and Origin
- Vehicular/Trucking Accidents
- Trespass and property damage liability
- Medical Malpractice
As a complement to this broad-based trial experience, our attorneys also have a wealth of appellate experience in these areas. We have successfully prosecuted appeals to all levels of federal courts and state courts in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
In addition to this litigation experience, Balch offers its clients in-depth counseling services in this area. Attorneys in this practice group are frequently consulted regarding ongoing accident investigations and are called on to conduct seminars for clients concerning accident investigations and lawsuit avoidance.
Balch represents owners, developers, governmental entities, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers on a broad range of both transactional work and litigation. We regularly represent clients in insurance coverage disputes, federal, state and municipal projects, highway and road construction projects, electric generating facility construction, solid waste dumps, gas stations, jails and prisons, structural defects, industrial projects, quarries, large automobile-manufacturing plants, industrial plants, interstate gas and petroleum pipeline projects, large commercial, shopping center and real estate developments, warehouses, churches, restaurants, office buildings, hospitals, condominiums, military bases, multi-family residences and homes. Moreover, Balch has unparalleled expertise in advising our clients on immigration related compliance and responding to government project site raids.
The firm is a national leader in the defense of electrical and electrical product cases. Our attorneys regularly defend electrical utilities and co-operatives across the Southeast in personal injury/wrongful death, and property damage cases. These claims involve electrocution and electrical shock arising out of contact with overhead and underground transmission and distribution lines by such things as cranes, tall-masted equipment, ladders, antennas, etc. Other cases we have handled include cases for negligent pole placement, defective poles (which involve application of the National Highway Standards and Rural Electric Administrative Standards, respectively), cases involving improper guarding, and unmarked guy wires, and transformer explosion accidents. The defense of these cases often require the application and interpretation of the National Electrical Safety Code, especially the application of the clearance tables for overhead conductors and tree trimming standards, the National Electrical Code, ANSI standards, OSHA standards, local fire codes, The Lineman and Cableman’s Handbook, and NESC Interpretations, etc. Electrical products we defend include such things as television sets, toaster ovens, electric ranges, switch gear, oil circuit reclosers, capacitors, voltage regulators, fused disconnects, lighting arresters, house panel boxes, grounding equipment, electric generators, arc chutes, computer controlled machinery, and buss bars.
Fire – Cause and Origin
Our attorneys are well-versed in the application of NFPA Standard 921 as well as applicable state law in the determination of the proximate cause of a fire. Attorneys in this area have defended fire and electrical accidents involving electrical products such as television sets, toaster ovens, electric ranges, switch gear, oil circuit reclosers, capacitors, voltage regulators, fused disconnects, lighting arresters, house panel boxes, and electric generators. In addition, the group has handled claims for defective or improper fire protection systems.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices
These cases have led to a union between science and litigation. Often, such claims involve serious personal injury or wrongful death arising out of the use or misuse of a wide variety of different types of drugs or medicines. In handling these matters, the practice group is able to take advantage of some of its members who have degrees in biology, chemistry and curricula related to the medical field. Some representative pharmaceutical products that have been handled in recent years by this practice group include: diet drugs; drugs for skin diseases and disorders; medical devices; nutritional supplements; dialysis equipment; and breast implants. The firm serves as national counsel for selected pharmaceutical products.
Balch is at the forefront in the defense of woodworking machinery and power tool manufacturers, distributors and dealers in product liability litigation throughout the United States. Products have included shapers, fixed and sliding table saws, gang rip saws, moulders, panel saws (including stationary and sliding as well as vertical and horizontal panel saws), jig and band saws, double end tennenors, jointers, drilling and boring machines, sanders, miter saws, hand-held circular saws, pneumatic nailers and a wide variety of computer numerically controlled machines. Attorneys in this practice group have worked closely with the leading experts in the industry and have had extensive dealings with the applicable ANSI and OSHA standards and have successfully defended both domestic and foreign companies in cases in over 35 states. The firm is national product liability counsel for one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of industrial woodworking machinery. In addition to woodworking machinery and power tools, other products liability cases handled by this practice group in the recent years include: child restraint systems, juvenile products; construction equipment; motor vehicles; sawmill and other industrial equipment; chemical products; firearm design; airline parts and products; motorcycle helmets; and gas tanks.
• Specialized Property Damage Claims – In addition to the personal injury matters, our attorneys also have extensive knowledge and experience in property damage matters. The attorneys in this group regularly litigate condemnation actions; mining/subsidence claims; nuisance and trespass cases; diminution in value claim due to quarry activities; flood insurance cases; and boundary line disputes.
With the increase of this litigation nationwide, our attorneys have developed expertise in certain specialized cases and the science behind these claims. The attorneys have managed hundreds of toxic exposure matters for the firm’s clients. For example, the group has handled or is currently handling claims for lead-based paint; mercury; asbestos; mold; PCBs; silica, industrial waste products; pesticides; Tordon; and electric and magnetic fields.