Every product recall threatens the possibility of litigation. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are constantly trolling for class action lawsuits as well as individual lawsuits, especially when a drug recall, perhaps, or a food recall has caused real or purported harm to consumer health or safety.
No matter how effective your company’s recall, no matter how fully compliant with recall regulations, a costly lawsuit is often just a single subpoena away.
Your legal team must therefore be fully involved at every step. It must be kept apprised of every threat from a consumer, every complaint about the product or about the recall logistics themselves. Left unanswered, all such grievances can ignite legal action.
At the same time, simmering legal threats can help the recall management team identify and correct flaws or shortcomings in its recall strategy. To that end, the entire recall team must be aware of such threats and the legal team should ensure that they are.
Recall documentation is the key to preventing future litigation and the spiraling recall costs that legal problems cause. Detailed records of each step in the recall process, and every action taken to complete the recall, must be logged, not only to conform to regulatory standards, but to lay the groundwork for a compelling defense if needed.
All recall documentation related to the consumer notification and call center operations should be shared with the legal team. The lawyers can mine this data for potential recall exposure; make sure the appropriate follow-up occurs, and minimize the risk of litigation before the plaintiff’s lawyers catch you in their gun sights.