Israeli Legal Framework: With the enactment of legislation that eliminated the need for a plaintiff to prove negligence, and with the increasing tendency of Israeli courts to exercise jurisdiction over foreign manufacturers, Israeli product liability law has undergone a significant liberalization over the past quarter of a century.
What We Do: The attorneys in our firm have represented foreign manufacturers (and their shareholders) in some of the largest product liability cases ever filed in Israel, including mass tort and wrongful death actions. Our clients have included US, Canadian, and European manufacturers. Sometimes we are retained by manufacturers directly, other times by their insurers.
Many American lawyers are familiar with the concept of "educating the judge" – filing a motion to cause a busy judge to delve more deeply into the facts of a case (usually early in the case) than the judge might otherwise do. In our experience, the concept of "educating the judge" is almost unheard of in Israeli practice.
We represent a non-Israeli manufacturer that has been sued in Israel in a series of product liability cases. In two of those suits, we recently filed a procedural motion that we (and our client) knew was likely to be denied; we filed the motion in order to educate the judge as to our client's strong defenses. Although the procedural motion was denied, forcing the judge to have to decide it caused him to understand the facts of our client's case – and to do so early in the case.
Just a few days after ruling on the motion, the judge demonstrated his understanding of our client's defenses by suggesting to plaintiff's counsel that he settle the case for a "nuisance" value payment.
In another case, we represented the Canadian manufacturer of a component part that was incorporated into a machine manufactured in the United States and then sold to Israel. Both the Canadian and the American manufacturers were sued in Israel. We filed a jurisdictional motion on behalf of our client (the Canadian manufacturer of the component part), and the American manufacturer of the end-product (separately represented) also filed a jurisdictional motion. Although the Haifa court denied the motion filed by the US manufacturer of the end-product, the court granted our client's motion on behalf of the Canadian component-part manufacturer. (To Israeli lawyers familiar with the famous Asahi case from the United States Supreme Court, this case became known as the “Israeli Asahi.”)
Why Clients Choose Us: Foreign manufacturers and their insurers choose our firm not merely because of our knowledge of Israeli law and our ability to compare Israeli product liability law to that of foreign jurisdictions. Rather, foreign manufacturers select us to represent them in product liability cases because they understand that such cases often turn on defense counsel’s ability to explain, to the fact-finder, the multi-stage process of designing a product, manufacturing it, and providing end-users with adequate instructions for the product's proper use. Because of our extensive experience in litigating product liability cases in the United States (for example, when Eric Sherby was practicing in New York, his clients included Ford Motor Company and GAF) and in Israel, we are highly qualified to impart all of these processes to Israeli judges, the vast majority of whom are not native English speakers.