Brian R. Thompson Of Counsel




Brian Thompson defends product manufacturers in the automobile and electronics industries against defect liability actions and consumer claims. He also represents transportation companies in vehicle collision cases, operator misconduct actions, and other litigation arising out of bodily injury and property damage. Brian also has extensive experience defending premises owners against allegations of unsafe conditions and other negligence theories. 

In addition, Brian serves as a strategic business partner to electric and autonomous vehicle companies, advising them on current and emerging regulatory and liability trends related to electric vehicles and their energy networks, advanced driver-assistance systems and fully autonomous vehicle testing.   

Brian has experience directing all phases of trial work, starting with counseling clients on assessment of their risk and prioritizing cost-effective strategies for early resolution, whether through a prompt dispositive motion or via strategic settlement discussions. In complex cases, Brian devises efficient and budget-conscious litigation strategies using focused investigation and discovery. Brian is skilled in deposing both lay and expert witnesses, authoring and arguing pivotal pre-trial motions and writing appellate briefs. He has resolved pre-litigation claims and cases through voluntary plaintiff dismissals, navigated numerous disputes through mediation, taken cases to trial and affirmed successful verdicts on appeal.

Areas of Focus

Automotive Liability
Vehicle Systems & Components
Serving as Pacific Northwest regional outside counsel for one of the Big Three Detroit auto manufacturers, Brian has handled numerous and multistate auto defect cases involving vehicle systems and components such as engines and transmissions, electronic stability control, airbag, fuel system design, seats and seatbelts, power steering and crash-worthiness. 

Electric & Self-Driving Vehicles
Brian also counsels automotive and transportation industry clients through the rapidly changing regulatory and liability landscape of electric and self-driving vehicles, especially regarding EVs and their expanding charging networks, development and integration of advanced driver assistance systems, and autonomous technologies. 

In the commercial transportation industry, Brian’s practice has centered on tort liability and insured defense litigation. These include negligent torts such as vehicle accidents and failure to train or supervise employees, intentional torts, including assault committed by vehicle drivers, and other cases involving injury to persons or property. 

Product Liability
Brian has represented energy companies, heavy equipment manufacturers, medical device manufacturers and appliance makers in high-stakes product liability and consumer litigation class and direct action matters. 

Brian has extensive experience in appellate matters before courts of appeal in California and the Ninth Circuit. He has handled appeals covering a broad spectrum of substantive law, including product liability and consumer complaint matters, securities law, professional liability, premises liability, insurance and workers’ compensation law, as well as civil procedure, evidentiary and even constitutional issues.

Representative Matters

Vehicle rollover case involving two plaintiffs ejected from their SUV when inattentive driving led their vehicle to swerve and flip over. The defect theories related to electronic stability control and roof crush resistance. Successfully defended the case by emphasizing operator error and that the vehicle’s ESC was state of the art at the time it was manufactured. 

Lead counsel on a case involving an engine fire that started soon after the plaintiff parked his vehicle. The plaintiff alleged permanent cardiopulmonary disability arising from stress and smoke inhalation. Secured a heavily discounted settlement result after impeaching the plaintiff with photos from his public social media disproving his claims of disability. 

Lead attorney in a case stemming from allegations of a vehicle’s airbag failing to inflate. Persuaded the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case after educating the plaintiff’s counsel about airbag deployment criteria.  

Lead counsel on behalf of a safety systems designer in a product liability action involving an explosion that caused catastrophic injury and property damage. Achieved a voluntary dismissal on behalf of the client after securing witness testimony that the client’s safety system did not fail and did not cause or contribute to the accident. 

Lead attorney on behalf of a garage door manufacturer in a case involving injury to a young child. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the action after overwhelming evidence showed the garage door system was not unreasonably dangerous. 

Defended a marine and RV appliance manufacturer in nationwide class action against allegations of a design defect in gas-absorption refrigerators. Defeated class certification using the doctrine of prudential mootness because the manufacturer already had initiated a product recall in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Second-chair trial counsel on behalf of a mobile home park owner in 30-plaintiff, multimillion-dollar toxic tort case involving multiple environmental engineering and regulatory compliance experts. Plaintiffs’ central theory of liability alleged liability for the park’s water supply. Persuaded the court to summarily reject the client’s liability for the park’s water, leaving plaintiffs with only minor allegations of failure to maintain the premises.  

Counsel for an energy company in a case involving fatal injuries to a trespasser on one of its electrical towers. Secured summary judgment and affirmation on appeal, dismissing the case under the doctrine of recreational use immunity. 

Appellate counsel on behalf of the world’s largest heavy equipment manufacturer. Affirmed on appeal the trial court’s dismissal of claims involving failure to warn about hazardous materials used in connection with the client’s products.