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Strict Liability and Product Liability

Strict Liability and Product Liability

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Strict Liability and Product Liability

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  1. Strict Liabilityand Product Liability

  2. 1. Strict Liability • Strict Liability for Injuries Caused By Dangerous Animals

  3. Strict Liability • wild animals – • domestic animals -knew or should have known that animal was dangerous.

  4. II. Strict Liability Strict Liability for Abnormally Dangerous Activities • Some activities create such grave risks that the defendant may be strictly liable even when he has exercised the utmost care.

  5. Abnormally Dangerous • ■Demolition or blasting activities, • ■Using or transporting certain chemicals like acids or combustibles, • ■Storing explosives, • ■Disposing of chemical wastes like mercury, • ■Radioactive emissions,

  6. III Strict Liability-Defective Products • Products - Strict liability for “who sells a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer.”

  7. Why Strict Liability - Defective Products • Strict liability for product manufacturers is meant to encourage manufacturers to design safe products, test them before placing them on the market, and provide clear directions and warning labels.

  8. Strict Product Liability • Requirements Strict Liability for Defective Product • Defendant is in the business of selling the product. • Product must be in defective condition when sold. • Product must be unreasonably dangerous. • Good are in substantially same condition.

  9. Example: • Fred built a drag car that John used in a race. The brakes did not work so John crashed into a building sustaining injuries. • Strict Liability?

  10. Product in substantially same condition. • Defective at the time IT LEFT THE HANDS OF THE MANUFACTURER

  11. Product Defects • Three types of product defects: • Manufacturing defects- • Design defects- • Warning Defects.-

  12. I. Manufacturing Defects • Unplanned defects – Someone messed up • Examples:

  13. Examples of a manufacturing defect include: • •a swing set with a cracked chain • •a tainted batch of cough syrup containing a poisonous substance, or • •a moped missing its brake pads.

  14. II. Design Defects • “Planned defects” • McDonald’s Coffee Case – 700 previous burns, temp. near boiling

  15. Lawn Darts

  16. Example – design defect • Lawn Darts – 1988 lawn darts banned from sale in the United States due to their hazards as a flying projectile with a sharp metal point causing multiple deaths.

  17. Based on the numbers Ford used, the cost would have been $137 million versus the $49.5 million price tag put on the deaths, injuries, and car damages, and thus Ford felt justified not implementing the design change

  18. III Failure to Warn • A product may be defective because of inadequate warnings or instructions. • prescription drug cases

  19. 2011 Case • A Texas man has filed a Four Loko lawsuit, alleging that the once-alcoholic energy drink caused him to suffer a stroke. • Robert Villa, who says that he had a stroke shortly after drinking two cans of Four Loko that he purchased at the Aziz Convenience Store in Donna, Texas, in 2010.

  20. The product liability lawsuit accuses Phusion Projects of failing to warn consumers about the possible side effects of Four Loko. • In its previous formulation, Four Loko had a 12% alcohol content, equivalent to about four beers, and three times the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, all in a 23.5-ounce can that sold for as little as $2.75. After nine Washington state college students were hospitalized for binge drinking Four Loko, it was dubbed “blackout in a can.”

  21. Federal Defenses • Federal Preemption: A manufacturer who complies with federal safety regulations in manufacturing its product may be able to avoid liability under state products liability law. However, court decisions on this theory have not been consistent. • Prescription drugs

  22. More Defenses • Statute of Repose: • TN – see later slides – 10 years