What We Do
Markland Hanley is a premier Texas-based trial firm that defends and tries cases for product manufacturers, designers, and suppliers in high exposure product liability litigation. The firm also consults with and advises clients currently in the process of developing and bringing advanced products to market regarding the product liability attacks and potential claims they can expect to face when their revolutionary new products become widely available. We focus primarily on the defense of technologically advanced products, including electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles (AVs), vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), robots, pilotless aircraft, and other products utilizing artificial intelligence. We advise our clients in these sectors regarding the steps they can take to reduce the likelihood of product liability litigation and prepare for such litigation should it occur. When our clients face lawsuits, we vigorously defend them in court.
Markland Hanley is privileged to represent some of the most well-known companies in the automotive industry, including some of the highest-profile manufacturers in the autonomous and electric vehicle spaces, and we have experience litigating vehicular and other product liability cases throughout Texas and across the United States. The firm has been identified as a “Tier One Best Law Firm” in Product Liability – Defense by U.S. News & World Report and Woodward White, Inc.’s Best Lawyers, every year since 2014. Firm founder and Texas Super Lawyer®, Dale Markland, was previously the head of the Product Liability Practice Group of one of the nation’s largest law firms, the international law firm, Vinson & Elkins, LLP. Founder and Texas Super Lawyer®, Tara Hanley, also previously with Vinson & Elkins, LLP, is among the most respected product liability defense lawyers in the State of Texas.
We have both the requisite trial experience and the advanced technological knowledge necessary to meet the moment and comprehensively address the full range of our clients’ evolving product liability needs.
Preparing for Unjustified Attacks on Technologically Advanced Products – The New World of Product Liability Litigation
Plaintiffs’ product liability trial lawyers have begun launching and are poised to launch ever increasing numbers of broad scale attacks on designers and manufacturers of autonomous and other advanced products, and these attacks are giving rise to a new world of product liability litigation. This new world is sure to include many of the elements of the old world — mass case filings, adverse media publicity, government inquiries, possible recalls, enormous legal fees and expenses, and potentially grave financial consequences for manufacturers and designers of advanced products. It will also bring with it an evolution in the types of attacks plaintiffs’ trial lawyers are most likely to launch and a new and vastly different landscape of legal and technical issues.
We will see increasing numbers of attacks on electrically powered vehicles, including attacks on the crashworthiness of lithium-ion batteries and other advanced electric power systems utilized in such vehicles. We will see attacks on the crashworthiness of the unique designs used for rideshare vehicles. We will see new attacks on the ever-expanding array of autonomous and semi-autonomous systems in vehicles, including all types of ADAS. We will see an increase in failure to equip allegations when particular advanced systems are not incorporated in particular vehicle models. Plaintiffs’ trial lawyers will attack all key aspects of autonomous products and semi-autonomous products, including the decision-making processes, other aspects of the stack of automation software, the design and configuration of the array of perception devices, and the warnings provided with the products.
These attacks have already begun to play out in courts nationwide, and this will continue. Plaintiffs’ trial lawyers will be focused and relentless. Companies that design or manufacture technologically advanced products, systems, or components, must prepare for these attacks now.
The Technologically Advanced Products Most Likely to be the Principal Targets of Plaintiffs’ Trial Lawyers’ Unjustified Attacks
- Electric Vehicles (EVs), Autonomous Vehicles, including autonomous Rideshare vehicles (AVs), and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – Crashworthiness attacks will be made on lithium ion batteries and other forms of electrical power when vehicles are involved in crashes that lead to fires and injuries and on autonomous and semi-autonomous features that are provided if they fail to prevent injuries. Attacks will also be made on ground vehicles that lack one or more autonomous or semi-autonomous features when it can be alleged that providing such features could have prevented the injuries. At the point in time when fully autonomous ground vehicles are in use, attacks will be made on a wide variety of such vehicles’ autonomous features.
- Pilotless Aircraft, i.e. air vehicles, including drones and commuter hovercraft, operating with autonomous systems will face similar attacks;
- Robots, including cleaning and disinfecting robots, delivery robots, industrial robots, healthcare and elderly care robots, personal assistance robots, and other robotic products operating with autonomous systems;
- Nano-medical Devices, i.e. certain miniaturized medical devices operating with autonomous systems;
- Artificial Intelligence, i.e. true creative thinking, non-human entities, or hard artificial intelligence beings;
- Genetically Modified Products and other genetically based products whose actions in response to given conditions are dictated by genetic coding.
Markland Hanley is Prepared to Defend Technologically Advanced Products Against Plaintiffs’ Trial Lawyers’ Attacks
YOU CREATE. WE DEFEND.
How We Can Help
Designers and manufacturers of advanced products must find and retain litigation team members who are best equipped to defend against the impending new attacks on their products, including an outside law firm built around defending against such new era attacks, a law firm whose team members have educated themselves about the key technical issues emerging in the new world of product liability litigation, a law firm that is laser focused on the defense of product liability cases involving subjects such as the crashworthiness of lithium-ion battery systems, the decision-making processes of and perception systems incorporated in autonomous vehicles and other autonomous products, the crashworthiness of vehicles designed for ridesharing, and design aspects of and likely attacks on robots and pilotless aircraft.
Markland Hanley is such a law firm. We exist to defend the designers and manufacturers of these advanced products. We educate ourselves to do so. We have spent countless hours concentrating on and discussing the attacks that will be made and how best to defend against them and on improving our capabilities and our cost-effectiveness in doing so. Markland Hanley’s attorneys have spent years preparing to defend designers and manufacturers of advanced products.
Companies that design and manufacture advanced products need outside legal counsel who can provide a sense of calm and confidence in the new product liability world, amid a potential litigation storm, outside legal counsel who will listen to and strive to fully understand in-house counsels’ objectives and their company’s overall goals, and who possess the knowledge, experience, and skill necessary to provide sound legal advice and to help them achieve those goals. Markland Hanley’s legal team can meet all of these needs.
CALM & CONFIDENCE IN THE NEW PRODUCT LIABILITY WORLD
Markland Hanley is here to assist you and your company in identifying the potential unjustified attacks that will likely be made by plaintiffs’ trial lawyers and the appropriate legal and technical responses to such attacks, including providing advice during the design phase and prior to release of your product for sale, in order to help your company reduce the risk of such attacks being launched against its products in product liability cases.
When product liability cases are filed, our team of trial lawyers is ready to step to the plate immediately to aggressively and tirelessly defend your decision-making processes and the design and marketing of your products. We have decades of experience in courtrooms across Texas and the country defending manufacturers and designers against product liability attacks.
Markland Hanley’s trial lawyers are determined, zealous advocates throughout the pre-trial process and in the courtroom. We are dedicated to defending designers and manufacturers of technologically advanced products, systems, and components, as well as more traditional products, because we believe in the vision of a better future for humanity made possible through enhancements to and improvements in existing products and through the development of new, technologically advanced products and designs.
Design Phase Consultation: When is a Product “Safe Enough” to Release for Sale?
Markland Hanley has the experience in the legal and technical areas of product liability and autonomous products to assist your company in assessing whether it has the necessary design phase process in place to effectively determine when its product is “safe enough” to release for sale. We can assess your company’s in-place safety design processes from the defense-side product liability lawyers’ point of view and advise the company as to any additional design phase processes that might be utilized to assist in reducing the risk of product liability suits being filed and to increase the probability of a successful defense if such cases are filed.