Products Liability Question

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
Gunner19

New
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:06 pm

Products Liability Question

Postby Gunner19 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:19 am

Not sure why but I'm having a little trouble grasping the big picture of products liability and my prof has been of little help. I understand the cases and rules, just not how it all fits together. The part I'm having trouble with is what tests/rules go to what claim and I feel like I may just be overthinking it. My questions are:
1. For a negligence claim- Is it just that theres a duty where its foreseeable the product would be unreasonably dangerous if negligently made and it could be used by someone other than the original purchaser? And then breach would just be a lack of reasonable care in the production of the product?
2. Do you have to prove any of the three defects in a negligence claim or is that only under SL?
3.Are the elements of a SL claim: (1) product is defective, (2) defect exists when it left manufacturers control, and (3) defect proximately caused P's injury? Then obviously under the defective element you would prove one of the 3 types of defect, right?

I know some of this seems pretty basic, but I appreciate any help. Thanks

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5049
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:45 am

I can't speak to how your professor specifically teaches it, which is important, because there are a variety of approaches. But there are some issues with the questions you're asking, so I'm just pointing those out in case it's helpful in reorganizing your thinking.

1 & 2. Negligence is negligence. There's no special standard for negligence in products liability; you just apply the standard. The main reason you want to talk about negligence in a products liability context is to contrast it with the SL approach in discussing whether SL is necessary/helpful.

3. I don't think you can blend the standards for manufacturing defect, design defect, and failure to warn into one test. They should be evaluated separately.

Gunner19

New
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:06 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby Gunner19 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:58 am

cavalier1138 wrote:I can't speak to how your professor specifically teaches it, which is important, because there are a variety of approaches. But there are some issues with the questions you're asking, so I'm just pointing those out in case it's helpful in reorganizing your thinking.

1 & 2. Negligence is negligence. There's no special standard for negligence in products liability; you just apply the standard. The main reason you want to talk about negligence in a products liability context is to contrast it with the SL approach in discussing whether SL is necessary/helpful.

3. I don't think you can blend the standards for manufacturing defect, design defect, and failure to warn into one test. They should be evaluated separately.


Got it. As for the 3rd question, I didn't mean that you blend it, but rather that you would just prove one of the 3 types of defect depending on the facts

B90

Silver
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby B90 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:03 pm

Is this for a 1L torts class?

The term product liability usually refers to STRICT liability for products. There are 3 basic types: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn.

As cavalier mentioned, negligence is totally separate.

For example, my state does not recognize strict liability for product defects. Instead, we need to either sue for negligence (reeeeeeeally difficult to do, and there are PJ issues) or (more commonly) under contract law, specially implied warranty of merchantability or suitability for a particular purpose. (This is way more than you need to know for a 1L class, which shouldn't be state specific.)

Is your question about how to define each of the three types? Or is it about which tests apply to each?

Gunner19

New
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:06 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby Gunner19 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:00 pm

B90 wrote:Is this for a 1L torts class?

The term product liability usually refers to STRICT liability for products. There are 3 basic types: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn.

As cavalier mentioned, negligence is totally separate.

For example, my state does not recognize strict liability for product defects. Instead, we need to either sue for negligence (reeeeeeeally difficult to do, and there are PJ issues) or (more commonly) under contract law, specially implied warranty of merchantability or suitability for a particular purpose. (This is way more than you need to know for a 1L class, which shouldn't be state specific.)

Is your question about how to define each of the three types? Or is it about which tests apply to each?


Yes, for 1L torts. My professor wants us to analyze under strict liability, negligence, and warranty theory on the exam. My main issue was whether you have to prove some kind of defect under the negligence claim or just normal duty, breach, causation. And just to make sure I have this correct, for the SL claim you just prove one of the 3 types of defect, that the defect existed when it left the manufacturer, and that the defect was the cause of plaintiffs harm?

B90

Silver
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby B90 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:20 pm

Gunner19 wrote:
B90 wrote:Is this for a 1L torts class?

The term product liability usually refers to STRICT liability for products. There are 3 basic types: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn.

As cavalier mentioned, negligence is totally separate.

For example, my state does not recognize strict liability for product defects. Instead, we need to either sue for negligence (reeeeeeeally difficult to do, and there are PJ issues) or (more commonly) under contract law, specially implied warranty of merchantability or suitability for a particular purpose. (This is way more than you need to know for a 1L class, which shouldn't be state specific.)

Is your question about how to define each of the three types? Or is it about which tests apply to each?


Yes, for 1L torts. My professor wants us to analyze under strict liability, negligence, and warranty theory on the exam. My main issue was whether you have to prove some kind of defect under the negligence claim or just normal duty, breach, causation. And just to make sure I have this correct, for the SL claim you just prove one of the 3 types of defect, that the defect existed when it left the manufacturer, and that the defect was the cause of plaintiffs harm?


Ok. Strict liability first.

3 types:
1. Manufacturing defect
This means the finished product is different than the design specs.
Ex: design specs called for a lawnmower to have a cover over the blade, but the mower that the plaintiff purchased did not have a cover.
This is the easiest to prove because you just need to show the end product is different than the design specs.

2. Design defect
The end product meets design specs, but caused injury to the plaintiff.
Ex: a lawnmower was designed to not have a cover over the blade. Plaintiff was injured when he mowed his lawn and the mower encountered a rock. Due to the design defect of not having a cover, the rock hit the plaintiff in the eye, blinding him.
For this, you apply the applicable test based on what jurisdiction you are in (risk/utility or the other one whose name evades me now).

3. Failure to warn
Ex: The lawnmower did not have a warning to wear goggles while operating the mower.
This is sort of the default one. Courts/judges love this one because it is the cheapest for the manufacturer. This is why we have crazy warning labels telling stupid people not to use hairdryers in the bathtub, etc.
Here, you prove foreseeable plaintiff and foreseeable injury that could have been avoided by a warning. (This is an oversimplification, but you get the point).

Negligence
P has a claim against D (the manufacturer) for negligence because D breached a duty, causing damages, when D manufactured a lawnmower that did not have a cover over the blade.
Here, you must state whate the duty is, how it was breached, and show causation (both actual and proximate). That establishes liability. Then you go to the second part of the negligence suit, which is damages.

Let me know where/if you need more clarification.
Last edited by B90 on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gunner19

New
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:06 pm

Re: Products Liability Question

Postby Gunner19 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:33 pm

Ok. Strict liability first.

3 types:
1. Manufacturing defect
This means the finished product is different than the design specs.
Ex: design specs called for a lawnmower to have a cover over the blade, but the mower that the plaintiff purchased did not have a cover.

2. Design defect
The end product meets design specs, but caused injury to the plaintiff.
Ex: a lawnmower was designed to not have a cover over the blade. Plaintiff was injured when he mowed his lawn annd the mower encountered a rock. Due to the design defect of not having a cover, the rock hit the plaintiff in the eye, blinding him.

3. Failure to warn
Ex: The lawnmower did not have a warning to wear goggles while operating the mower.


Negligence
P has a claim against D (the manufacturer) for negligence because D breached a duty, causing damages, when D manufactured a lawnmower that did not have a cover over the blade.
Here, you must state whate the duty is, how it was breached, and show causation (both actual and proximate). That establishes liability. The second part of a torts suit is damages.[/quote]

Yep, it just clicked. The major sticking point was whether the 3 types of defects were related to a negligence claim at all. Appreciate the help everyone.



Return to “Forum for Law School Students�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bemp65, Google Adsense [Bot] and 18 guests