Life Sciences

Sedgwick attorneys have been litigating cases in the life sciences industry since the 1950s, when the firm represented Cutter Laboratories in connection with its polio vaccine.  A substantial portion of Sedgwick’s product liability work is performed on behalf of clients in the life sciences industry, including numerous pharmaceutical, medical device, biologics, food and medical product firms.  We are at the forefront of cutting-edge legal issues for the life sciences industry and have developed much of the case law that currently governs drug and medical device product liability actions.

We handle cases that range from simple to complex, multiple and interrelated cases filed in a variety of jurisdictions.  Our clients value our experience in complex litigation procedure, such as class action practice, MDLs and statewide coordinated proceedings. They have frequently called upon us to serve as national, regional or statewide counsel.

Sedgwick’s life sciences defense team consists of experienced litigators, including nationally recognized trial counsel.  Many of our attorneys have a special interest in medicine, and some have educational backgrounds in medicine, nursing and pharmacology.  We have fostered relationships with experts in varied medical disciplines, statistics, epidemiology, genetics, biomechanics, and jury selection.  We use the latest technology to produce demonstrative evidence, including computer-generated graphics, models, video reconstructions and full-scale product mock-ups.

Sedgwick also provides regulatory counseling and representation involving products and services regulated by FDA, USDA, CDC, NIH, HHS, CPSC and other federal and state agencies.

Large-Scale Drug and Medical Device Litigation

Pharmaceutical litigation frequently occurs on a national and international scale. Sedgwick’s 14 offices in the U.S. and two international locations ensure clients’ immediate access to our expertise and permit us to coordinate and implement effective strategies for claims pending in multiple jurisdictions.  

Sedgwick offers premier class action representation, having pooled our considerable experience into a dedicated class action task force that provides our clients immediate, strategic counsel on the complex procedural issues attendant to class action proceedings. We also have extensive experience navigating cases into, or away from, the federal MDL process or to state court coordinated proceedings.  Our attorneys have been among the primary architects of significant MDLs and state coordinated proceedings, and have learned the systems’ advantages and disadvantages.  We have also learned how to manage the parallel pre-trial processes to achieve cost-effective discovery and to implement consistent law and motion strategies.

In 2005, we resolved a nationwide class action involving thousands of individual claimants who alleged that a pharmaceutical product caused a variety of serious liver injuries, including transplantations and deaths.  The financial terms reached were extremely favorable to our client, and we achieved global resolution of a complex MDL proceeding with limited discovery, resulting in low litigation expense.

Our experience as national coordinating counsel and regional coordinating counsel in scores of drug and medical device matters has allowed us to develop pre-trial litigation strategies, efficient workflows and proven defense practices that save our clients substantial expense, while also positioning cases for the best possible trial and/or negotiated resolution.

We confer with our client to identify its primary business and legal objectives, conduct a case assessment, and develop and implement appropriate themes and litigation strategy. We prepare pleadings; draft and respond to discovery; prepare company witnesses for deposition and trial testimony; develop the company story; identify, develop and prepare expert witnesses; and identify, retain and supervise local counsel.  We oversee all facets of final trial preparation, conduct jury research and try the cases. 

Complex Case Resolution

Successful resolution of complex, high profile matters require the leadership of defense counsel who are ready to try the cases and who can negotiate with an understanding of the client’s legal, regulatory, business and public relations objectives. As national and regional coordinating counsel, Sedgwick has created and managed numerous multi-plaintiff claim resolution agreements. Our attorneys have participated in many of the major mass tort settlements achieved over the past three decades. Our experience has allowed us to develop resolution strategies that save our clients substantial expense, while also uniformly positioning cases in the best possible posture for trial.

Life Sciences Regulatory & Legislative

Sedgwick’s Life Sciences team also provides sophisticated counsel enabling clients to navigate the evolving regulatory landscape that governs their core businesses.  We regularly advise on regulatory compliance, enforcement and related investigations; interact with regulatory agencies; and participate in rulemaking and other agency proceedings.  We conduct product safety assessments, help develop appropriate compliance measures and counsel on premarketing product commercialization issues. Sedgwick also advises clients regarding legislative issues that impact life sciences clients. Our attorneys regularly advise life sciences companies on regulatory and litigation issues involved in transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and commercial agreements.