CONSUMER PROTECTION | Automotive & Product Defect Claims

A driving force for consumer protection.

We represent individuals and small businesses in state and federal product defect and warranty class actions across industries.


Cohen Milstein is a recognized leader in automotive, product defect, and breach of warranty class actions in the United States — particularly in the areas of automotive engines, exhaust and emissions, transmissions, and safety systems, as well as home improvement products and cell phone technology. 

We bring a unique combination of jury trial experience and court-appointed class leadership insight to these challenging cases that are often addressed as multi state-by-state class actions where causes of action must be addressed under state law or are consolidated into multidistrict litigation, where pivotal bellwether trials can be determinative. Our national footprint and co-counsel capabilities are critical to successfully handling such cases in both state and federal courts.

We represent individuals and small businesses in state and federal product defect and warranty class actions, spanning all industries, including:

  • Automotive, Trucking & Recreational Vehicles
    • Airbags & Safety Systems
    • Exhaust & Emissions Systems
    • Engines
    • Transmissions
  • Home Improvement Products
  • Technology Devices & Software

The team is co-led by Theodore J. Leopold who is currently sole Lead Counsel in General Motors Litigation, a consolidated product defect class action spanning 30 states. Given his years of experience in automotive and product defect claims, Mr. Leopold is recognized for his deft ability to quickly analyze and discuss high-level product engineering, failure mode and defect analysis with juries.

Douglas N. McNamara serves as team co-lead. He was the architect of the successful opposition to the motion to dismiss in In re Caterpillar Engine Product Liability Litigation, resulting in a $60 million settlement.

Current Cases

General Motors Litigation

General Motors Litigation (E.D. Mich.): Cohen Milstein, as court-appointed Lead Counsel and Plaintiff Steering Committee Chair, represents a certified class of consumers in more than 25 states who purchased or leased new and used vehicles manufactured by GM in a consolidated breach of warranty and deceptive and fraudulent business practices class action against GM. Plaintiffs bring their claims under state consumer protection statutes and express and implied warranty law of their respective states, related to GM’s manufacture and sale of defective eight-speed automatic transmissions (GM 8L90 or the 8L45), manufactured by between 2015 and 2019.

Past Cases

Mincey v. Takata

Mincey v. Takata (Cir. Crt., Duval Cnty., Fla.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a lawsuit brought on behalf of Patricia Mincey and her family, a Florida woman who sustained catastrophic injuries that rendered her a quadriplegic in 2014 when the driver’s side airbag in her Honda Civic deployed too aggressively during a collision due to a product defect. Patricia Mincey passed away in early 2016 due to complications from her quadriplegia. The suit charged that Takata, the manufacturer of the airbag system, knew of the airbag defect and hid the problem from consumers. When the defendants removed Ms. Mincey’s case to federal court in an attempt to have it bogged down in multi-district litigation, Cohen Milstein successfully had the case remanded to Florida state court, where it is was resolved in July 2016.

BK Trucking Co., et al. v. PACCAR, Inc. et al.

BK Tucking Co., et al. v. Paccar, Inc., et al. (D.N.J.): Cohen Milstein represented current and former truck owners and lessees in New Jersey, Ohio and Texas in a putative class action against PACCAR, the third-largest manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the world, and its subsidiaries, Kenworth Truck Company and Peterbilt Motors for breach of warranty, unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices related to the manufacture and sale of defective products.

In re Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation

In re Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (E.D. Va.): Cohen Milstein is co-lead counsel in a consumer class action lawsuit, alleging the nationwide retailer sold Chinese-made laminate flooring containing hazardous levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde while falsely labeling their products as meeting or exceeding California emissions standards, a story that was profiled twice on 60 Minutes in 2015. On October 9, 2018, the Court granted final approval of a $36 million settlement. Mr. McNamara was involved in all aspects of the litigation, including discovery, writing and arguing pleadings, and settlement.