Strict Liability [tort theory] disclaimers are ineffective Alternative way of making product liability claim A. Theory Tort Theory- disclaimers were ineffective, strict, absolute, without affect Not a defense to say I didn’t mean for that to happen Absolute liability (liability without fault) D is legally responsible regardless of blameworthiness or fault (d’s intentions and carefulness are irrelevant) Strict Liability B. Elements 1. Product was defective Defective Product a. Design defect error at planning stage car designed with only two lug nuts per wheel and industry standard is 4-5 b. manufacturing defect product does not conform to design car leaves factory with lug nuts missing
c. warning defect inadequate instructions product packaging or literature accompanying the product fails to warn of dangers from forceable missuses Defect made product Unreasonably dangerous a. In texas, two test for unreasonable danger: 1. Design defect: risk/utility test If risk of injury outweighs utility of design, then design fails test (defective design makes product unreasonably dangerous) SAD TEST Note: A Texas statute requires plaintiffs in design defect cases to prove that there was a safer alternative design that was economically and technologically feasible A texas statute creates a presumption of no liability in design defect cases when the designer complies with mandatory government standards 2. Other defect Manufacturing or warning defect: Consumer expectation Test If product more dangerous than ordinary consumer would expect, then it fails test 3. Defect was Proximate Cause of Plaintiffs injury “but for” and “foreseeability” tests 4. Defendant is a “merchant One who earns a living by selling goods of this kind
If plaintiff has evidence that a product does not live up to the expectations of an ordinary consumer, then the jury may infer that there is a defect in the product 1. Design Defect defective transmission control system 2. Warning Defect look at owner manuals emergency brake Note: Texas Statute Inherently Unsafe Products – types of products that are known to be unsafe and common consumer products In products liability action, a manufacturer or seller shall NOT be liable if: A. General Rule is NO liability A1. The product is inherently unsafe and the product is known to be unsafe by the ordinary consumer who consumes the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community; AND A2. The product is a common consumer product intended for personal consumption , such as sugar, castor oil, alcohol, tobacco, butter, as identified in Comment I to section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. B. Exception to the Rule where there can be liability B. For purposes of this section, the term “products liability action” Does not include an action based on manufacturing defect or break of an express warranty can still sue for manufacturing defect VII. Public Policy Corps argue that too much exposure to product liability claims can put them out of business This is why we have so many crazy warnings on boxes
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- Spring '08
- Tort Law, Product liability, Carelessness