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Welcome to the Product Safety & Consumer Law newsletter

Bozena Michalowska Howells, Head of product safety & consumer law 

The Department has been commended for the broad bench of work we undertake ranging from defective medical devices to defective white goods, cosmetic products, cars and financial products. Our aim is to enforce and protect the rights of consumers be they patients, householders, shoppers, or investors.
 
We have this year had some notable achievements. Some of the highlights include;
  • Representing the families of victims in inquests and in potential civil claims following their deaths as a consequence of allergic reactions after consuming inadequately labelled food.
  • Acting in a group claim relation to the provision of NHS blood contaminated with the Hepatitis C virus, which seeks to force the Department of Health and Social Care to pay compensation.
  • Representing various clients against white-goods manufacturers following fires resulting in damage to property and/or loss of life.
  • Being the joint lead solicitors in Volkswagen emissions litigation group action.
  • Acting for claimants against various eye clinics in the UK, which used Oculentis intraocular lenses that allegedly caused vision problems.
  • Acting on behalf of claimants who have been diagnosed with breast implant related lymphomas.
  • Pursuing a multi-million pound fraud claim on behalf of a group of individuals who invested in property in the United States and suffered devastating losses.
  • Investigating a potential group action on behalf of customers of investment platform Hargeaves Lansdown who invested in the failed Woodford fund.
 
The work that the department has done this year has been ground-breaking, particularly the work of Michelle Victor and Jill Paterson and their teams whose efforts have resulted in real legislative change with the introduction of “Natasha’s Law”. The new law strengthens allergen labelling rules following the death of Natasha Ednan- Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to sesame seeds in a Pret a Manger baguette.
 
Our work contributed to the firm being shortlisted for Law Firm of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2019. Leigh Day were highly commended because of the firm’s work on some of the most high-profile legal cases in the UK. The Law Society commented that;
 
Their strength of conviction saw them withstand attacks and remain a firm which will always support the ‘David against the Goliath’. The judges were impressed that Leigh Day appeared to go places others fear to tread, demonstrating real courage in serving their clients.

Volkswagen Emissions scandal: countdown to trial

By Shazia Yamin, Solicitor

The trial is a milestone for affected vehicle owners, many of whom have been waiting for an outcome since news of the scandal first broke in September 2015. Unlike in the US where liability was admitted very early on, Volkswagen has continued... Read article 

Changes in Allergy Law - do they go far enough?

By Michelle Victor, Partner

A number of high profile cases have hit the media focusing the spotlight on the allergy world. Leigh Day represent the families of Natasha Ednan- Laperouse, Owen Carey and Celia Marsh... Read article 

Oculentis eye implant claims settled against major UK eye clinic

By Thomas Jervis, Associate Solicitor

Optegra, who describes itself as the UK’s most trusted eye hospital, provided the patients with specific types of Oculentis lenses which eventually became the subject of urgent Field Safety Notices... Read article  

Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: A call to action

By Zahra Nanji, Associate Solicitor 

The history of breast implants internationally is a history of repeated scandals, recalls, and health problems for those women who undergo implantation. Even against that backdrop, the fact that textured breast implants are now associated with a pathognomic form of cancer known as Breast Implant... Read article 

Marchioness disaster 30 years on - have lessons been learned?

By Jill Paterson, Partner

I still remember waking up to the news of the Marchioness disaster and being deeply troubled that something so tragic could happen in an apparently safe environment. The news released on the 30th... Read article 

Are clinical trial volunteers properly protected by current safeguarding mechanisms?

By Gene Matthews, Partner

Clinical trials conventionally take place before a new medical product is granted a licence in the UK. They are typically organised by pharmaceutical companies to test the safety, efficacy or side effects of new drugs and medical devices on humans. The development of new drugs is crucial... Read article

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