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The older the product is, the more difficult it is to prove negligenceon the part of the defendantState-of-the-art Defense: used to demonstrate that the alleged negligent behavior was reasonable, given the available scientific knowledge existingat the time the product was sold or produced; given the state of scientific knowledge, there was no feasible way to make a safer product Government Safety Standards: failure to comply with a safety standard may lead to the imposition of liability, so does compliance with safety regulations constitute a defense. Following case illustrates one situation in which the court had to determine whether a corporation could be found guilty of product liability after the company had complied with government safety standards:Donna S. Riegel v. Medtronic Inc.: Charles Riegel and wife sued a medical device manufacturer, Medtronic; Charles had a catheter produced by Medtronic placed in his coronary artery after he suffered a heart attack; during his heart surgery part of the catheter burst. Charles claimed that because of the malfunction he suffered other health problems, so they sued the catheter manufacturer, claiming Medtronic was negligent in the production and distribution of the medical device. Medtronic argued that because the FDA had determined Medtronic’s manufacturing and design of the devices complied with existing safety standards, it was protected from suit for product liability. Case went to Supreme Court after Riegels appealed. Because the Medtronic catheter complies with the safety standards of the FDA at a federal level, the only hope for the Riegels would be to look at any possible additional standards set in their state (states can do this with medical products) of New York by the Medical Device Amendments (MDA). Because there are no additional or different requirements set by the MDA in New York, the case is affirmed in favor of Medtronic.Strict Liability in Contract For Breach of Warranty: Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) provides the basis for recovery against a manufacturer or seller on the basis of breach of
warranty. Warranty is a guarantee or a binding promise; may be express warranty (clearlystated by the seller or manufacturer) or implied warranty (automatically arising out of a transaction). Either type may give rise to liability; two types of implied warranties may provide the basis for a product liability accusation oImplied Warranty of Merchantability: a warranty or guarantee that the goods (tangible and moveable) are reasonably fit for ordinary use; arises out of every sale, unless it is expressly and clearly excluded. The seller must be a merchant (deals in or has knowledge in the kind of goods sold). UCC says to meet the standard of merchantability, the goods1.Must pass without objection in the trade under the contract description2.Must be of fair average quality within the description3.Must be fit for the ordinary purpose for which the goods are used4.Must run, with variations permitted by agreement, of even kind, quality,