H. Michael O'Brien

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Michael O’Brien is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and co-chair of the firm’s Product Liability and Class Action Defense practices. With more than 30 years of experience in product liability defense, Michael focuses on representing U.S.and Asia-based manufacturers and distributors as national counsel in litigation, pre-suit investigations and class actions. He also advises clients on reporting obligations to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and counsels them on voluntary recall issues.

Latest Articles

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on March 27 its plan to hold a public hearing on May 16 “to receive information from all interested parties about the potential safety issues and hazards associated with internet-connected consumer products,” commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT).…
In my September 2016 blog post, The Impact of the Smart Home Revolution on Product Liability and Fire Cause Determinations, I forecast that “dumb products made smart by connecting to the internet will present a new layer of complexity when a failure occurs.” When a product fails and causes property damage or bodily injury, experts are frequently tasked with assessing the root cause for the failure, which can lead to a claim or litigation against…
The recent WannaCry ransomware cyberattack provided another chilling reminder of the potential disruptive power behind the Internet of Things. Even before the WannaCry attack in May 2017, a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on a domain name server provider, Dyn, Inc., took place in October 2016, pushing many popular internet services offline for hours. The Dyn attack, which utilized the malware Mari as the supporting agent, was a sea-change event carried out by hundreds of thousands of…
The phenomenal growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), widely hailed in 2015, has been greater than originally forecast. Gartner, Inc. estimates a 30 percent increase in IoT devices connected to the Internet in 2016, which equates to 6.4 billion devices, and forecasts that more than 20 billion devices will be connected to the Internet before 2020. On average, 5.5 million new devices are connected to the Internet each day. As the IoT becomes part…
The rapid emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) led to the establishment of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) in the spring of 2014 by five primary stakeholders: AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel. IIC now claims a membership of 211 in more than 26 countries. Each of the five founding members, like many other companies, is undergoing significant transformations within their core business platforms to take advantage of the immense growth opportunities with…
The exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is far outpacing the ability of stakeholders to address safety standards and security concerns. This is not unusual as rapidly developing technology often challenges regulators and standards organizations to develop a framework for consensus governance. However, because the IoT transcends so many industries, there will be unprecedented difficulties with respect to harmonization of standards that will apply from one industry sector to another. The efforts to…
This is the third in a series of blogs examining the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its consequential impact on product liability risk. The development of the IoT has been so rapid and the applications so ubiquitous across every imaginable industry and commercial enterprise that there has been a failure by many businesses to recognize that with interconnectivity of so many products and services, security is only as strong as the…
The Internet of Things and the Inevitable Collision with Products Liability, published in February 2015, identified a number of factors leading to the emergence and phenomenal growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).  It also identified issues relating to potential product liability exposures and the impact that IoT-connected devices could have on risk assessment and risk transfer due to the consequences of foreseeable vulnerabilities and failures with IoT-connected products. This second article addresses in…