issues the Restatement (third) of Torts focusing on strict liability ○ Explicitly recognizes the three types of strict liability claims Limitations and Defenses ● Limitations ○ Requirement that a defective product be “unreasonably dangerous” precludes recovery in many instances ○ Damages resulting from the failure of a product to perform its ordinary purpose would not be covered under 402A
○ 402A limits recovery to users and consumers (including family members, guests, and employees of the purchasers) ■ Recovery not always allowed to injured bystanders or others who are brought into contact with defective product ○ The plaintiff may find it difficult to prove that a product left the hands of the seller in a defective condition ■ Product undergo no material change in condition after leaving defendant’s hands ○ Where the technology involved in production is complex, witnesses who can testify to defective manufacture may not be available ○ Damage limitations exist ■ Plaintiffs can usually only recover for property damages and personal injuries but not for basis-of-the-bargain damages ■ Recovery of economic losses is usually disallowed as inconsistent with the UCC’s scheme for warranty recovery ■ Statutory limitations on recoveries ● Privity Defense ○ Most states follow the 402A(2)(b) position abolishing the privity requirement ○ In some states an intermediary is protected from section 402A liability by requirements that the manufacturer be included in the plaintiff’s suit whenever possible or that the manufacturer be sued instead ● Sophisticated Purchaser Defense ● Plaintiff Misconduct Defenses FEDERAL CONSUMER LEGISLATION Consumer Product Safety Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act LEGISLATIVE LIMITATIONS ON THE PRODUCTS LIABILITY REVOLUTION PELMAN V. MCDONALD’S CORP. Issue: does McDonlads need to clearly warn consumers of the health hazards of its food? ● McDonald’s sells fast food that is high in unhealthy substances and thereby contributes to a burgeoning obesity problem problem among Americans ● Deceptive advertising and negligence Ruling: Judge dismissed the complaint but granted plaintiffs permission to file a new complaint ● Plaintiff consumers filed a class action lawsuit against McDonalds ● Trial judge held that plaintiffs failed to produce any advertisements that could be viewed as deceptive and turned to product liability claims based in negligence Analysis/Conclusion: complaint did not clearly draw the link between their obesity and McDonald’s fast food alone ● Argument used meant that a successful lawsuit would mean that literally anyone else in the food business (even home cooking) could potentially face liability ● Complaint did not adequately specify proximate cause ● How many times a week plaintiffs ate mcdonalds and the nature of the rest of their diet were not adequately indicated
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- Spring '08
- Contract Law, Implied warranty, Product liability