Strict Liability • Strict Liability -
1. Strict Liability • Strict Liability for Injuries Caused By Dangerous Animals
Strict Liability • wild animals – • domestic animals -knew or should have known that animal was dangerous.
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.
Abnormally Dangerous • ■Demolition or blasting activities, • ■Using or transporting certain chemicals like acids or combustibles, • ■Storing explosives, • ■Controlled field burning,
III Strict Liability-Defective Products • Strict liability for “who makes a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or his property.”
Defective Products • Strict liability for product manufacturers is meant to encourage manufacturers to design safe products and test them before placing them on the market.
Strict Liability for Defective Product • Defendant is in the manufacture of product • Product must be in defective condition when left manufacture and goods must be in substantially same condition • Product must be unreasonably dangerous.
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?
Proving Defective Condition • The defective condition makes it unreasonably dangerous. • Plaintiff need not show why or in what manner the product became defective.
Product in substantially same condition. • Defective at the time IT LEFT THE HANDS OF THE MANUFACTURER
GM first knew the switches could be a problem in 2001, during development of the 2003 Saturn Ion. It showed up again in 2004. • The switch design was modified in 2006, but the new component wasn't assigned a new part number — violating GM procedures and, if it was part of a cover-up of a safety problem, possibly federal law. And the cars weren't recalled then. • Because of the part number issue, GM hasn't been able to accurately track which of its small cars have the safer switch.
Lawyers representing people killed or injured in the now-recalled cars are likely to try to convince courts to overturn GM’s immunity from pre-bankruptcy claims, using the “successor liability” argument. • In other words, the current GM must keep the liability because it committed fraud - intentional concealment.
Product Defects • Three types of product defects: • Manufacturing defects- • Design defects- • Warning Defects.-
I. Manufacturing Defects • Unplanned defects – • Examples:
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 motorcycle missing its brake pads. • a seat belt restraint not work
II. Design Defects • “Planned defects” • McDonald’s Coffee Case – 700 previous burns, temp. near boiling
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.
Clackers - Clackers were discontinued when reports came out of children becoming injured. The balls would occasionally shatter upon striking each other-
A key piece of evidence was a Ford internal memo titled “Fatalities Associ’d with Crash-Induced Fuel Leakage and Fires.” • 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
III Failure to Warn • A product may be defective because of inadequate warnings or instructions.
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.
The product liability lawsuit accuses Phusion Projects of failing to warn consumers about the possible side effects of Four Loko.
Crosswhite v. Jumpking, Inc. (2006). • Case 13.3 – Pl attempted back flip and fell on head and neck – paraplegia. Pl alleged inadequate warnings. • Here – Had 9 warning labels and placard and User Manual and videotape. One warning said –do not do flips. • Def wins motion for summary judgment.
Market-Share Liability • Multiple Defendants contributed to manufacture of defective product.
Four drug manufacturers each make a particular drug, which is sold in various pharmacies all over the United States. • Years later, a disease caused by the drug appears in hundreds of people. These people sue the four drug manufacturers, claiming that the drugs caused their disease, but they cannot show which drug manufacturer provided the particular pills that each of the people took.
For instance, if Manufacturer A had sold 20% of the DES on the market, then Manufacturer A was responsible for paying 20% of the women’s damages.
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
Tennessee Product Liability • Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-101 • Products Liability Actions
Tennessee Product Liability The language of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-105(a) dictates that strict liability applies when injury results from a product that is in a defective or unreasonably dangerous condition at the time it left the control of the manufacturer. A product must actually leave the control of the manufacturer…..
More Defenses • Statute of Repose: • TN – see later slides – 10 years
Limitation of Actions • 29-28-103. Limitation of actions -- Exception. • (a) Any action … it must be brought within six (6) years of the date of injury, in any event, the action must be brought within ten (10) years from the date on which the product was first purchased for use or consumption, or within one (1) year after the expiration of the anticipated life of the product, whichever is the shorter, .....
Work Comp • John gets arm stuck in machine because automatic shut off valve not work. John gets $10k workers compensation benefits from Er. John sues Manu Machine and gets $20k. The Er gets paid back of its money $10k first and John gets the rest $10k.
Epidural cases • http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50142537n