Defenses 2 Prod. Liab.

SL Defenses in Prod. Liab.

  1. P's Neg.
    1. Contrib. Neg. in SL Jxn
      1. Most forms of contrib. neg. not a defense in SL cases
    2. A/R
      1. P's neg. could B compl. defense
    3. Comp. Neg.
      1. Mix apples & oranges by lwring P's recov. by comp. neg. but no bar
      2. P's unrsbl behav. contrib. 2 injury / P's neg. is prox. cause of harm, then jury lwrs recov. accordingly
      3. CA Jury Instruction: Maj. jxn
        1. Compute amt w/o comp. fault
        2. Assign % of P's fault
        3. Then lwr which is final amt of verdict
    4. Adv. & Disadv. of Comp. Neg. w/SL
      1. Not det. if P's neg. meets A/R so good
      2. Prob. b/c only assume unrsbl behav. & not deal w/rsbl non-neg. A/R
    5. If Rsbl Assumption: What Law Should B
      1. Hold mfgr SL b/c spread cost
      2. Mfgr. not doing any good deed
      3. If prod. defective & foreseeable harm from rsbl use, shouldn't lose defense
  2. Prod. Misuse
    1. Prod. Not Defective
      1. Then no liab. so bar P's recov.
      2. Defect & defense of misuse rel'ed b/c even w/abnormal uses, benefit may outweigh the burden
    2. Prod. Defective
      1. Not prox. cause of harm
        1. No recov. 4 P
      2. Foreseeable misuse
        1. P can recov. & no defense
      3. Unforeseeable misuse, abnormal unintended use of prod.
        1. No recov. 4 P & defense
  3. Preemption Defense
    1. Fed. Law Supreme
      1. Conflict w/State Law
        1. Specif.
        2. Fed. can lay out when preemption may occur
        3. Fed can occupy the field & state can't intrude
    2. Used more by D as defense in ind. where reg'ed like tobacco & drugs
    3. Preemptions In
      1. State law that conflict w/fed.
      2. Priv. axn where P sues 4 failrue 2 warn / misdesign
  4. Used Prod. Seller
    1. No SL 4 Used Prod. Seller
      1. Would apply SL 4 orig. chain distrib. b/c can indemnify mfgr., pressure mfgr, & can choose mfgr
      2. For used prod. seller, consumer expectation dif., can't distrib. liab. 2 mfgr by indemnity / pressure, & would incr. cost if SL imposed
  5. Lessor & Home Sellers
    1. Gen'ly No SL 4 Lessor
      1. But Becker v. IRM Corp. said SL which is min.
    2. Seller of Homes
      1. Liab. more readily but not same as mfgr & sellers
      2. SL b/c mass prod. homes & in busi. of selling so seems like ord. prod. sit.
      3. SL 4 failrue 2 disclose known cond's
  6. Service Provider
    1. No SL b/c Not in Busi. of Selling
    2. Blood
      1. Not service provider
      2. Policy of constant availability of blood
    3. Hybrid of Serv. & Prod. Seller
      1. If essence serv, not SL
      2. Gen'ly if hybrid, then say serv. prov'ed not prod. selling b/c sense that prod. is only incidental part & neg. can cover these areas


This material is copyrighted by the author. Use of this material for profit is strictly prohibited without the written permission from the author.

Go Back to Law School Notes

1