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  • 1.

    The court system
    What is the structure of the civil court system?

  • 2.

    Judges and juries
    What is the role of the judge in civil proceedings and what is the role of the jury?

  • 3.

    Pleadings and timing
    What are the basic pleadings filed with the court to institute, prosecute and defend the product liability action and what is the sequence and timing for filing them?

  • 4.

    Pre-filing requirements
    Are there any pre-filing requirements that must be satisfied before a formal lawsuit may be commenced by the product liability claimant?

  • 5.

    Summary dispositions
    Are mechanisms available to the parties to seek resolution of a case before a full hearing on the merits?

  • 6.

    What is the basic trial structure?

  • 7.

    Group actions
    Are there class, group or other collective action mechanisms available to product liability claimants? Can such actions be brought by representative bodies?

  • 8.

    How long does it typically take a product liability action to get to the trial stage and what is the duration of a trial?

  • 9.

    Pretrial discovery and disclosure
    What is the nature and extent of pretrial preservation and disclosure of documents and other evidence? Are there any avenues for pretrial discovery?

  • 10.

    How is evidence presented in the courtroom and how is the evidence cross-examined by the opposing party?

  • 11.

    Expert evidence
    May the court appoint experts? May the parties influence the appointment and may they present the evidence of experts they selected?

  • 12.

    Compensatory damages
    What types of compensatory damages are available to product liability claimants and what limitations apply?

  • 13.

    Non-compensatory damages
    Are punitive, exemplary, moral or other non-compensatory damages available to product liability claimants?

  • 14.

    Legal aid
    Is public funding such as legal aid available? If so, may potential defendants make submissions or otherwise contest the grant of such aid?

  • 15.

    Third-party litigation funding
    Is third-party litigation funding permissible?

  • 16.

    Contingency fees
    Are contingency or conditional fee arrangements permissible?

  • 17.

    ‘Loser pays’ rule
    Can the successful party recover its legal fees and expenses from the unsuccessful party?

  • 18.

    Product liability statutes
    Is there a statute that governs product liability litigation?

  • 19.

    Traditional theories of liability
    What other theories of liability are available to product liability claimants?

  • 20.

    Consumer legislation
    Is there a consumer protection statute that provides remedies, imposes duties or otherwise affects product liability litigants?

  • 21.

    Criminal law
    Can criminal sanctions be imposed for the sale or distribution of defective products?

  • 22.

    Novel theories
    Are any novel theories available or emerging for product liability claimants?

  • 23.

    Product defect
    What breaches of duties or other theories can be used to establish product defect?

  • 24.

    Defect standard and burden of proof
    By what standards may a product be deemed defective and who bears the burden of proof? May that burden be shifted to the opposing party? What is the standard of proof?

  • 25.

    Possible respondents
    Who may be found liable for injuries and damages caused by defective products?

  • 26.

    What is the standard by which causation between defect and injury or damages must be established? Who bears the burden and may it be shifted to the opposing party?

  • 27.

    Post-sale duties
    What post-sale duties may be imposed on potentially responsible parties and how might liability be imposed upon their breach?

  • 28.

    Limitation periods
    What are the applicable limitation periods?

  • 29.

    State-of-the-art and development risk defence
    Is it a defence to a product liability action that the product defect was not discoverable within the limitations of science and technology at the time of distribution? If so, who bears the burden and what is the standard of proof?

  • 30.

    Compliance with standards or requirements
    Is it a defence that the product complied with mandatory (or voluntary) standards or requirements with respect to the alleged defect?

  • 31.

    Other defences
    What other defences may be available to a product liability defendant?

  • 32.

    What appeals are available to the unsuccessful party in the trial court?

  • 33.

    Status of product liability law and development
    Can you characterise the maturity of product liability law in terms of its legal development and utilisation to redress perceived wrongs?

  • 34.

    Product liability litigation milestones and trends
    Have there been any recent noteworthy events or cases that have particularly shaped product liability law? Has there been any change in the frequency or nature of product liability cases launched in the past 12 months?

  • 35.

    Climate for litigation
    Describe the level of ‘consumerism’ in your country and consumers’ knowledge of, and propensity to use, product liability litigation to redress perceived wrongs.

  • 36.

    Efforts to expand product liability or ease claimants’ burdens
    Describe any developments regarding ‘access to justice’ that would make product liability more claimant-friendly.

  • Updates and trends

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Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners is an award-winning business law firm providing legal advice in all areas of commercial law. 
Established in 1988, our firm now comprises more than 380 highly specialized lawyers based in Italy (Rome, Milan, Bologna, Padua and Turin) and abroad (Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Hong Kong, London and New York).

View more information about Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners

Piazza Belgioioso, 2
T: +39 02 76 3741
F: +39 02 7600 9628


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