We advise manufacturers, distributors and suppliers in all their product-related issues: regulatory advice, dealing with or litigation against the regulators, product liability cases against consumers/users, litigation within the supply chain and/or customers, class action, civil and criminal claims. The breadth of our experience covers a wide range of sectors including:
- Automotive, Aviation, Agricultural products, Heavy Industry
- Telecommunications, media and technology (TMT), e-commerce and e-marketplaces
- Consumer goods, household appliances, electronic products
- Life sciences, Healthcare, Food & Drinks
- Luxury brands, cosmetics, clothing, sportswear
Our strength is that we advise on a product from day one right up from R&D to market placement and beyond. We provide product compliance and regulatory advice on design, labelling, authorisations, certifications, as well as on health and environment issues and internal investigations that are needed to avoid subsequent litigation or criminal proceedings.
We also deal with all disputes that may arise, whether launched by the regulators, consumers, competitors or suppliers. Our track-record in product liability demonstrates how we fully explore the technical details and thoroughly understand our clients’ products and culture.
Our specialism is dispute resolution: we have virtually no conflicts of interests. A flexible approach to billing and staffing means that clients receive dedicated partner time and considerable personal involvement. Pre-litigation and regulatory advice are driven by our litigator mindset.
Our litigation expertise is built on significant courtroom experience, averaging three trial hearings per month. Our lead partner, Sylvie Gallage-Alwis, has fought dozens of cases involving hundreds of plaintiffs. She also deals, on a daily basis, with regulators on behalf of our clients. The team has been involved in some of the most cutting-edge issues that have arisen so far in France: liability linked to dieselgate, planned obsolescence, e-marketplace litigation, etc.
We are widely recognised for our product liability litigation expertise
Sylvie Gallage-Alwis has been ranked in Who’s Who Legal France: Product Liability Defence since 2015, which notes she “stands out in the market for her highly respected product liability, toxic tort and mass litigation expertise.” She has also been identified for Litigation by Best Lawyers 2020 and was awarded the “Best in Product Liability” award at the 2019 LMG Euromoney Europe Women in Business Law Awards. She is described as a “dynamic and determined litigator”, who is “a firm favourite among clients” as “she always goes the extra mile to support her clients, and is proactive in seeking commercial solutions to disputes” and is “analytical, intelligent and responsive”. In The Legal 500 EMEA 2020, France chapter, Sylvie is recognised as the only Next Generation Lawyer for product liability under Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation. Sylvie is recognised for her work on “high-profile toxic tort and product liability cases, handling a number of asbestos claims” and as a “a star in the international world” and “well-connected expert”.
Recognised by Who’s Who Legal as the “finest product liability lawyer in the country and one of the very best on the continent”, Thomas Rouhette has a seasoned, wide and multifaceted practice, spanning from contract litigation to corporate and banking disputes as well as to fraud and asset tracing. Thomas is regarded by Who’s Who Legal as one of the top three ‘Global Elite Thought Leaders’ in EMEA for Life Sciences: Product Liability, and the directory notes he has “a tough style that is very effective”. Thomas has also been listed as one of the “Most Highly Regarded” practitioners in Who’s Who Legal France: Product Liability Defence 2019, with the Guide noting that he is “a pre-eminent figure in the French market”. Thomas is the only French member of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC). He is further listed by Chambers Europe, Chambers Global and The Legal 500 as one of the top product liability lawyers in France.
Product Liability Litigation Team
“The team at Signature is highly talented, experienced and dedicated.“
The Legal 500 UK 2021
Sylvie is described by Who’s Who Legal as a “dynamic and determined litigator“, who is “a firm favourite among clients” as “she always goes the extra mile to support her clients, and is proactive in seeking commercial solutions to disputes” and is “analytical, intelligent and responsive“. The Legal 500 EMEA Guide ranks Sylvie as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ for Product Liability Litigation in France and she is recognised for her work on “high-profile toxic tort and product liability cases, handing a number of asbestos claims.”
Thomas is ranked Band 2 by both Chambers Global and Europe for his litigation and aviation law expertise, with sources praising him for his “invaluable” advice, experience and knowledge. The Legal 500 EMEA Guide consistently recognises Thomas as a ‘Leading Individual’ for his aviation and commercial litigation practices. Who’s Who Legal regards Thomas as the “finest product liability lawyer in the country and one of the very best on the continent.”
Product Liability Litigation Experience
Representing a leading French car manufacturer in the scope of the Dieselgate worldwide investigation.
Assisting a European pharmaceutical group in the defence against product liability claims arising from the use of anti-louse and antiseptic products.
Assisting one of the leading suppliers of spare parts for nuclear facilities following the discovery of defects in the raw material supplied to it and used for production for clients around the world.
Assisting a leading tyre manufacturer in the first anxiety-related mass litigation filed before French Civil Courts on the ground of alleged breach of duty to warn and duty to protect linked to the raw material imported in France used for the manufacturing of its products.
Assisting a Japanese pesticides manufacturer in the scope of investigations launched by French Customs.
Assisting a Japanese cosmetics manufacturer in the launch of its products in the EU and in the scope of consumer claims.
Assisting a US wood chipper manufacturer following accidents that occurred in France (labour inspection investigation, civil claims, etc.).
Known for having represented a leading e-marketplace against luxury brands alleging that the products sold on the marketplace were either counterfeits or sold in breach of their selective distribution network.
Representing a leading commercial aircraft manufacturer in cases arising out of accidents involving French passengers.
Assisting a US manufacturer of wood siding in the scope of all the claims filed by consumers in France and case management of their entire EU docket.
Advising a leading French insurer, covering a French breast implants manufacturer, with regards to worldwide personal injury cases as well as class actions.
Representing a leading US electronic product manufacturer in the scope of the investigation launched for alleged planned obsolescence and deceit on the life expectancy of one of its products. Representing in all of its product liability cases as well as in actions led by consumer associations.