Professional and product liability

Wilson Harle lawyers have acted, both for plaintiffs and defendants, in relation to professional and product liability claims.

It has acted for companies, directors and senior managers in relation to product claims. Its lawyers have acted, both as advisers and defence lawyers, in product recalls and subsequent litigation.

Members of the firm have acted in the past as claims handlers for a local professional indemnity scheme and the firm is on the panel of D&O defence firms for a major insurer. One of the partners is a member of the NZLS National Standards Committee. It has acted for and against professionals in relation to liability claims and professional disciplinary complaints.

Examples of cases in which the firm's lawyers have acted include:

  • Represented and advised manufacturers in relation to product recalls of infant formula, cheese and food ingredients, including in subsequent claims and insurance issues.
  • Represented New Zealand barristers in respect of professional liability claims.
  • Represented an international accountancy firm in relation to claims arising from the use of its offshore trusts in a fraudulent scheme by former directors of a New Zealand company and its solicitor to keep its major assets from creditors and its liquidator.
  • Acted for a multinational corporation in addressing product safety complaints in consumer packaging including dealing with Department of Labour investigation and resolving civil claims by a customer who on-sold the products.
  • Represented a listed company in a claim against an international accountancy firm alleging negligent taxation advice.
  • Represented an international engineering consultancy firm in respect of issues raised and claims made regarding its services in New Zealand and the Pacific.
  • Acted for a large professional services firm in relation to a complaint to the profession’s NZ disciplinary tribunal alleging conflict of interest and misleading conduct, including restructuring the engagement to allow a transaction to proceed.
  • Acted for an international supplier in defending a claim for alleged inherent defects in its products which allegedly led to a fire that destroyed part of a power substation.
  • Acted for a group of insured directors in challenging the assertion of a charge under section 9 of the Law Reform Act 1936, in circumstances where such a charge would prevent insureds with liability insurance cover from accessing the defense costs element of that cover.
  • Acted for a trust, whose property was destroyed by fire during the course of renovations, in successfully claiming against its solicitors, insurance brokers and project architect for failures of duty which deprived it of the benefits of its fire insurance cover.
  • Act for a professional organisation in annually reviewing a sample of its professional disciplinary decisions for quality and advising on potential improvements.
  • Acted as an independent expert advisor, on engagement by a professional indemnity insurer, to provide an opinion on the professional propriety of the actions of an insured facing a substantial claim.