Peter Pliszka is a senior partner in the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, one of Canada's leading litigation and business law firms. With a practice focused on product liability and class action proceedings, Peter acts as trial and appellate counsel before courts in Ontario and other provinces of Canada, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.
Peter is the chair of Fasken Martineau's national Product Liability Practice Group, which has been named Canadian Product liability Firm of the Year by Benchmark Canada in 2014 and 2016, and Canadian Product Liability Firm of the Year by LMG Life Sciences in 2015.
Peter has substantial experience representing manufacturers and distributors in product liability proceedings involving issues of design, manufacture and governmental regulation of various consumer and industrial products. Peter has dealt with a wide array of products including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, food products, motor vehicles, home electronics equipment, sports equipment, recreational products, power generators, aircraft, forklift trucks, tractor trailer wheel assemblies, fire retardant fabrics, trains, elevator components, industrial machinery, industrial resins and cellular telephones.
Peter also advises manufacturers on regulatory requirements of various products, risk management issues, recalls, product warnings and product labels and literature.
Peter has extensive experience as defence counsel in class action proceedings. Peter frequently acts as lead national defence counsel for Canadian and foreign companies sued in class actions in multiple jurisdictions across Canada. In this context, Peter regularly works collaboratively with his clients' US outside counsel when his clients are sued in parallel cross-border class action and MDL legal proceedings in Canada and the US. Peter's deep knowledge of differences between Canadian and US laws respecting issues of legal liability, document production, legal privilege, etc. enables Peter to conduct his clients' multi-jurisdictional litigation in a strategic, organised, effective and cost-efficient manner.
Peter has frequently represented both Canadian clients and foreign clients from the US, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia in international business disputes. He has extensive experience litigating issues of private international law including determination of governing laws, proof of foreign laws, jurisdiction, and enforcement of foreign judgments. Mr Pliszka has been counsel in various leading appellate cases that have established the legal test for determining whether a Canadian court may assume jurisdiction over a foreign defendant, including acting for the appellant--a foreign corporate defendant--in the landmark Van Breda decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada changed (for the better, from a defence perspective) the Canadian test for determining when a Canadian court is entitled to assume jurisdiction over a claim against a foreign defendant..
Peter's expertise in the area of product liability law is widely recognised. Peter is listed in countless lawyer-ranking publications including Chambers Canada which has ranked Peter as one of only four Canadian lawyers in Band 1 for product liability litigation; the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory of Leading Canada/US Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers; Who's Who Legal-The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers; Who's Who Legal-The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers; and since 2010 Peter has repeatedly been selected by peers and inhouse counsel for inclusion in Euromoney Institutional Investors-Legal Media Group's Best of the Best-The Top 30 Product Liability Lawyers in the World.
Peter is the co-author of a leading book for practitioners in coroners' inquests in Ontario, and he has represented corporations in some of the most high-profile product-related coroners' inquests in Ontario.
Peter has published numerous articles and spoken at many conferences in Canada and the US on a variety of topics including class actions, product liability, post-sale warnings, product recalls, punitive damages, legal privilege and electronic discovery.
Peter has been admitted to the Product Liability Advisory Council, a US-based, defence-oriented litigation strategy organisation for lawyers with demonstrated skill and experience in product liability litigation, and he is a member of the International Association of Defence Counsel, among other organisations.
Peter received his BA with a gold medal in economics in 1983 and his LLB in 1986, and he clerked at the Federal Court of Canada in Ottawa in 1986 to 1987.
During the relatively short history of class proceedings in Canada, manufacturers of products have found themselves at the receiving end of a significant number of class action claims. To date, the main battleground in respect of these claims has been the certification motion. Overall, the...