Peter Pliszka is a senior partner who acts as trial and appellate counsel in a broad range of product liability, class action, commercial and insurance litigation matters before all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian provinces, and before the Supreme Court of Canada. Peter is the National Chair of Fasken Martineau’s Product Liability and Insurance Practice Group, which has been named Canada’s Product Liability Firm of the Year by Benchmark Canada in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and the LMG Life Sciences Canadian Product Liability Firm of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
Peter has substantial experience as defence counsel for manufacturing companies in private action and class action product liability proceedings.
Peter has served as lead national defence counsel for clients in multi-jurisdictional and national product liability class actions in Canada involving motor vehicles, medical devices, drugs and sports equipment. Further, Peter has extensive experience conducting the Canadian defence of cross-border legal proceedings that involve parallel claims on both sides of the Canada-US border. In this context, Peter regularly works in close collaboration with our clients’ outside counsel in the US in developing and executing defence plans for our clients in a strategic and cost-efficient manner.
Peter also regularly advises manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers on regulatory requirements of various products, risk management issues and corrective actions including product warnings and recalls. In addition, Peter is one of Ontario’s most experienced counsel in product liability-related Coroner’s Inquest proceedings.
Peter’s product liability experience covers the design, manufacture and operation of a wide range of products, including, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, food products, motor vehicles, home electronics equipment, sports equipment, recreational products, power generators, aircraft, forklift truck mechanical braking systems, tractor-trailer wheel assemblies, fire-retardant fabrics, trains, elevator components, industrial machinery, industrial resins, and cellular telephones.
Peter regularly represents clients from the US, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean in legal matters in Canada. In this regard, Peter has substantial experience in the area of private international law. Peter has been counsel in the leading appellate decisions on the law of jurisdiction over foreign defendants, including the 2012 landmark S.C.C. decision of Club Resorts Limited v. Van Breda/Charron which reformulated the law in Canada for determining when a Canadian court is entitled to assume jurisdiction over a claim against a foreign defendant. Peter represented the foreign defendant, Club Resorts Limited. This decision substantially improved the jurisdiction law of Canada from a defence perspective. The decision eliminated subjective notions of fairness for the plaintiff as a factor which a court may consider in determining whether it may assume jurisdiction over a claim against a foreign defendant, and established a new test based on more objective factors for determining jurisdiction.
Peter is listed in various national and international directories of leading lawyers including: LMG Life Sciences Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year, 2016; Chambers Canada (2016) - Product Liability - Band 1 Lawyer (Peter is one of only four lawyers in Canada listed in Band 1); Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory’s List of the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada; Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory of recommended product liability lawyers in Canada; The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers - Product Liability Defence Lawyers (Peter is one of only two Canadian lawyers included within a group of 20 lawyers world-wide rated by WWL as “The Most Highly Regarded Individuals”); Who’s Who Legal - Canada - Product Liability; The International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers; Benchmark Canada - The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (National Star and Local Star in product liability); and Euromoney/Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Product Liability Lawyers. In addition, since 2010 Peter has been selected by in-house counsel and peers internationally for inclusion in Euromoney’s bi-annual "The Best of the Best" publication listing of the top 30 product liability lawyers in the world.
In ranking Peter as one of only four lawyers in Band 1 for product liability litigation in Canada, Chambers reported the following about Peter, based on its extensive survey of clients and peers:
“Peter Pliszka enjoys a standout reputation as one of the “top people in the country” for product liability cases. His broad practice covers the full spectrum of proceedings in this area involving medical devices, automobiles, food and consumer products. He represents clients across Canada and has experience of cross-border trials.”
Based on surveys of in-house counsel and peers in the litigation bar, the International Bar Association’s lawyer ranking publication, Who’s Who Legal, has reported the following comments about Peter in recent years:
“Fasken Martineau DuMoulin has a very strong inclusion in Peter Pliszka. He represents and extensive range of product manufacturers in complex litigation and class actions. Both peers and clients enjoy working with him, extolling his “hands-on approach”, “dedication to clients”, as well as his “intricate knowledge, which is always presented in a clear and practical way”.
“Peter Pliszka of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is “absolutely first class”. Praised for the quality of his advice and of his representation, he has worked with clients from fields ranging from medical devices to food products, industrial machinery and cellular telephones. In the words of one of our interviewees: “the clients love him”.
“At Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Peter Pliszka is “world-class” counsel and has been praised for his “exceptional” work in defending clients involved in product liability actions.”
“Peter Pliszka of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is very highly nominated in this edition. He is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council and is “very well known” for his “fabulous” defence counsel for distributors and insurers in product liability proceedings. He has “substantial knowledge” of the design, manufacture, operation and government regulation of a vast array of consumer and industrial products.”
"Fasken Martineau DuMoulin fields the "greatly respected" Peter Pliszka to this edition. He is the "lawyer of choice" for manufacturers, distributors and insurers in need of defence counsel and clients praise his "attentiveness" and "reliability"."
“The “leading” Peter Pliszka of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin is a “star” of the Toronto bar. He is national chair of the firm’s insurance and product liability group, and corporate counsel praise his “responsiveness, efficiency and flexibility”.”
Based on their market research, the editors of Benchmark Canada's Guides over the past few years have written the following:
"The firm has also etched itself a winning position in product liability matters, and peers note, 'Peter Pliszka is the most experienced product liability person there, for sure.' Pliszka attends to a diverse array of matters encompassing all manner of consumer products, including pharmaceuticals, cars, chemicals and food."
"The firm is also noted for being a standout in product liability and, in Toronto, peers point to Peter Pliszka as the “go-to. He went to the Supreme Court in 2012 on a van Breda test issue and did a great job.” Pliszka is taking a more active role in class actions as well, and at least one peer confirms, “Peter is ready! With defendants getting bolder and becoming less inclined to settle class actions after certifications, more cases may make it to trial, and Peter is someone I would trust if a matter did go to trial.”
"Beyond its resources and commercial capacities, Faskens is also noted as a national leader in product liability, especially with a class action element. In Toronto, Peter Pliszka is singled out. ‘He’s a go-to for the industries that are really under assault by the class action plaintiffs: medical devices and automotive.'"
Peter is the co-author of a leading book for practitioners in coroners' investigations and inquests in Ontario. In the forward to the first edition of the book, The Honourable Mr. Justice William R. Wolski stated that, "The authors of this Annotated Coroners Act are well-known for their legal knowledge and practical skills inside the coroners system. They have consistently pushed at the borders of the inquest process and have helped to shape the modern coroners' inquest." His experience includes acting as counsel for Canada's cellular phone industry association in Coroner's inquest focussed on the cutting-edge issue of driver distractions.
In September 2002, Peter was inducted as a member of Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC). PLAC is a US-based, defence-oriented litigation strategy and networking organization for lawyers with demonstrated skill and experience in product liability litigation. PLAC's membership comprises primarily in-house counsel of large US manufacturing corporations, with a limited number of outside litigation counsel who meet PLAC's selection criteria.
Peter has also been admitted as a member of Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) and International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). LCJ is a defence-oriented legal organization comprising in-house counsel of large corporations who manage their companies’ litigation, plus a limited select group of outside counsel. IADC is an invitation-only, international organization of experienced and prominent corporate and insurance in-house counsel and outside litigation lawyers.
Peter has published numerous articles and has frequently been asked to speak at legal conferences in Canada and the US sponsored by Product Liability Advisory Council, IADC, American Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, Sports and Fitness Industry Association (formerly known as Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association), Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, The Canadian Institute, Insight Information, The Advocates Society, Ontario Bar Association and The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, on a number of topics including product liability, product recalls, international litigation issues, class action lawsuits, punitive damages, aviation law, coroners' inquests, legal privilege issues, electronic discovery, professional liability, expert evidence in legal proceedings, and managing the media in litigation.