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Strict Liability

Does not require fault, intent, breach of duty.
Usually involves "abnormally dangerous" activities and risk cannot be prevented. -- Dangerous animals
Other applications of strict liability: manufacturers and sellers of harmful or defective products.

Product Liability - Based on Negligence

In order to prevent claims of negligence, due care must be used by the manufacturer in:
Designing the product, selecting materials, using the appropriate production process, assembling and testing the product, placing adequate warning on the label or product

Product Liability - Based on Misrepresentation

Fraudulent misrepresentation of a product may result in product liability based on the tort of fraud.
Examples: intentional mislabeling of packaged cosmetics, intentional concealment of a product's defect

Requirements for Strict Liability

One who sells product in defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer
(seller is in the business of selling such a product and it reaches the consumer w/out substantial change)
The rule stated in subsection 1 applies although:
seller has exercised all possible care in prep and sale of his product AND user/consumer has not bought the product from or entered into any contractual relation with the seller

Claims that a product is so defective as to be unreasonably dangerous

B/c of a flaw in the manufacturing process, design defect, the manufacturer failed to war adequately of harms associated with the product's use, obvious risks

Product Defects


Manufacturing defects

Product "departs from its intended design."
Liability on manufacturer and retailer

Design defects

Test: when "foreseeable risks could have been avoided with alternative design."
Plaintiff must show a reasonable alternative design (at the time the product was designed.)

Inadequate Warnings

Reasonableness test applies.
Defective when foreseeable risks could have been reduced or avoided w/ instructions and the omission of instructions renders the product unsafe.
There is NO DUTY to warn about obvious or commonly known risks.

Six Requirements for Strict Liability

"Unreasonably dangerous" products, claims that a product is so defective as to be unreasonably dangerous, product, manufacturing, design defects, inadequate warnings

Defenses to product liability

Several defenses that manufacturers, sellers, or lessors can raise to avoid liability for harm caused by their products.
Assumption of risk, product misuse, comparative negligence (fault), commonly known dangers, knowledgeable user, statutes of limitation

Assumption of risk

User or consumer knew of risk of harm and voluntarily assumed it

Product misuse

User or consumer misused product in way unforeseeable by manufacturer

Comparative Negligence (fault)

Liability may be distributed between plaintiff and defendant under the doctrine of comparative negligence

Commonly Known Danger

If defendant succeeds in convincing the court that a plaintiff's injury resulted from a commonly known danger, such as the danger associated with using a sharp knife, the defendant will not be liable

Knowledgeable User

Risks are obvious and should be known by professionals. Example: electrical wiring

Statutes of Limitation

States pass time limitations in which lawsuits can be filed for product liability cases.

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