Products Liability

Products Liability is one of the most challenging areas of personal injury law. The manufacturer of a defective product is often unwilling to admit the product is dangerous, defective, or unsafe, because by doing so, it makes the company vulnerable to claims from all other persons who purchased or used the same product. Manufacturers often aggressively defend by asserting defenses including misuse or fault of the user.

Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers can all be held liable if a person is injured or killed by a defective product. Three kinds of product defects that can support strict liability are manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects involving faulty instructions or failure to warn.

Notable Cases

Defective Crib -- A six month old baby alone in his crib became wedged in between the mattress and railing. Unable to crawl out, his struggles only wedged him further in. When his parents went to check on him, they found him blue and lifeless. At a jury trial, the crib manufacturer and toy store blamed the parents. The judge excluded testimony from experts, including the medical examiner, expert in motor development of young children, expert in crib design, and metallurgist, as not being qualified. The parents lost at trial. The appeals court ruled the defendant's objections to nonspecialization go to the weight rather than the admissibility of the testimony, and kept the truth from the jury. The court also erred in failing to give plaintiff’s jury instruction that negligence of user of product is not a defense. The case was remanded for a new trial, whereupon it settled for a substantial sum.

Defective Saw -- $1.5 million settlement by school board for freak accident where saw without guard hurled screw driver across shop room and wedged into boy's brain.

Crashworthiness -- During accident, motorcycle's footrest/peg punctured rider's foot when it fell; case settled.
Consumer Products
Motorcycles & Trucks
Tires, Rollovers, & Seatbelts
Medical Products & Drug