If the misuse was foreseeable then Ds failure to guard against it is a design

If the misuse was foreseeable then ds failure to

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- If the misuse was foreseeable , then D’s failure to guard against it is a design defect , and D is liable for it (i.e. it is part of the prima facie case ). P has the burden. - If it was not foreseeable , then the product is not defective , and D is not liable. o Operates like Bexiga – we want to impose liability when injuries arise from something D could have reasonably seen coming and guarded against. - E.g. Liriano – if it is foreseeable that people (P or his/her employer) will remove the safety guard (to increase productivity, ease of use, etc.), then Manufacturer is liable. If the alteration is unforeseeable, Manufacturer is safe. - Foreseeability applies to both intended users and bystanders ; accounts for things like car crashes (not the “intended use” of the car). o Foreseeability as shorthand " Manufacturers must guard against risks that are both foreseeable AND unreasonably risky. - Disclaimers: For personal injuries, generally do not preclude liability ( unlike warnings ). P REEMPTION : Congress may preempt a state law with a federal law (as long as Congress remains within its own Constitutional limits) – effectively forbid enforcement of the state law. Preemption can be express or implied, conflict or field . Field Preemption : Congress occupies a field with such heavy regulation that there is no “space” left for state regulation. Can impliedly occupy the field by asserting it is in the federal (not local) purview. Conflict Preemption: When federal law directly conflicts with state law, the federal law supersedes (under the Supremacy Clause). Congress must demonstrate that it is either impossible to comply with both laws or that compliance with the state law would impose an obstacle to accomplishing Congress’ goals in the federal law. Hughes v. Magic Chef, Inc. (Iowa 1980) Facts: P sued D when an oven D manufactured exploded in P’s mobile home, because P tried to operate the stove without making sure all three pilot lights were lit. D claimed P “misused” the product and thus assumed its risks. Trial court found for D. Holding: REVERSED. Misuse is not an affirmative defense; its absence is a prima facie element. The true test is the foreseeability of P’s misuse, rather than P’s knowledge of the risks of misuse. Doomes v. Best Transit Corp. (N.Y. 2011) Facts: P was injured when riding in a bus manufactured by D, whose driver “dozed off.” The driver had a seatbelt, but none of the passengers did. Trial court found for P, but Court of Appeals reversed, claiming federal law preempted and only required driver seatbelts. Holding: REVERSED. No preemption here – it is possible to comply with both at once, providing seatbelts to the driver (in compliance with federal regulation) AND to the passengers as per P’s claim. Congress’s goal of uniformity in seatbelt laws was clearly subordinate to their overall goal of safety , further advanced by adding passenger seatbelts as well.
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H ILLARY N EGER F INAL : 12/10/2014 S EC . 1 T ORTS O UTLINE 50 C. D EFENSES Contributory Negligence, Comparative Fault, and Risk Assumption – -
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  • Spring '07
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