The cars, planes, trains, and drugs we use every day are safer thanks to product liability lawyers, according to co-founder of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP Kevin Boyle. Boyle has been named Best Lawyers’ 2017 Plaintiffs’ Product Liability Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Los Angeles, an award conferred upon him by his peers.

“Everybody assumes that there are authorities ensuring that the products we interact with are safe,” says Boyle. “But our government agencies are too overburdened to do a thorough job and a lot of companies cut corners on safety. That leaves huge gaps in safety protections.”

“Product liability lawyers fill the gaps to protect the public in a way the government can’t.”

Boyle’s commitment to consumer and individual protections is a professional focus that he explains using automobiles as an example. Lawsuits served as the impetus for the use and design changes in airbags, seatbelts, and door latches.  “We’d all still be driving around with no belts, no headrests, with babies sitting on our laps if it wasn’t for these lawsuits,” says Boyle.

Professionalism Personified

Brian Panish, co-founder and partner, says the force behind Boyle’s success is a “Midwestern work ethic,” an exceptional understanding of the law and the science, and his ability to explain complicated issues in 
plain language.

“Product liability can be complex. It’s necessary to understand design, how a product is manufactured, how a product works and fails,” says Panish. “Kevin not only understands all of that, he can explain it all to jurors who aren’t engineers in a way that they understand.”

“We’d all still be driving around with no belts, no headrests, with babies sitting on our laps if it wasn’t for these lawsuits.” - Kevin Boyle

Despite his high-level abilities, Boyle “always treats opposing counsel and the judge with the utmost respect.”

“He is not necessarily going to agree with the other side, or even the judge, but he maintains a civil, professional, and respectful approach at all times,” says Panish. “Kevin exemplifies professionalism as an advocate.”

Keeping It Simple

Boyle was selected to be a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, an honor reserved for young lawyers at the highest level of the profession. Despite the pedigree, Boyle has a knack for taking complicated legal and scientific issues and breaking them down so everybody can understand them. 

World-renowned metallurgical expert Dr. Gary Fowler, who is often hired by the defense in major product liability cases, stated: “Of all of the lawyers I have worked with and against, Kevin Boyle asks the simplest, clearest, but hardest questions that 
go right to the heart of the case.”

Currently, Boyle is taking a leading role in cases involving Olympus endoscopes that resulted in deadly “superbug” infections in hospital patients, the Oxnard Metrolink train crash, which has been tied to defectively manufactured parts, and numerous aviation cases where defects of many varieties caused catastrophe. The cases all boil down to the same thing, he says: “None of them should have happened.”

If Boyle has his way, he’ll continue to force changes in corporate accountability, product design, and manufacturing for many years to come.