Product Liability

.. e hazards involved in using their product. This case revolved around the notion that the manufacturer, once again, didnt use a reasonable degree of care in informing the consumer of the hazards involved with jet skis. Unfortunately for Martell, this inability to inform resulted in a loss of limb. Martell, the rider of a rented jet ski was struck by a motorboat alleged that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn him of the dangers posed by the product. Evidence was presented that the jet skis color and size made it difficult to see, and its difficulty handling in rough water tended to force novice riders to look only straight ahead to keep it afloat, thus increasing the risk for collision.

The court affirmed the findings of liability of the manufacturer of the Jet Ski because the vessel was defectively designed and it lacked adequate warnings of potential dangers associated with its foreseeable uses. Another failure to warn breach is Rawlings Sporting Goods V. Daniels. A high school football player who suffered brain damage when his football helmet broke during a head-on collision with another player brought a negligence action against the manufacturer of the helmet. The court held that a manufacturer is under duty to warn of dangers that it knows or should know are associated with its product.

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The court added that there is a presumption in failure to warn cases that if the warning had been given, the plaintiff would have read it, and subsequently, prevented himself of acquiring the severe damage to his brain. In short, the manufacturer is liable for negligence if it fails to warn of the dangers that it knew or should have known about the helmet or product. Another form of breach of duty, and more modern in approach is the intentionally marketing of a product in such a way as to blind the consumer of all possible hazards involved with thereof product. Quite often an attorney will discover that a product is defective not only because of its design or manufacture but also because of the manner in which it is advertised. Advertisements sometimes display products being used in a dangerous manner without warning of catastrophic consequences if the consumer should use the product the same way. An example of this can be found in the Pell v.

Victor J Andrew High School case. The unharnessed user of a mini-trampoline was unable to complete a somersault and landed on a mat, severing her spine. It was alleged that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn. There was a warning label on the trampoline bed stating that it should be used only with proper supervision but the product was assembled with the label facing the floor. The warning did specify the risks of spinal injury and paralysis due to somersaulting without a spotter or harness.

There were also warnings on the frame of the trampoline, but frame pads on all four sides covered these. The court affirmed a $5 million judgment against the manufacturer largely because warnings were ineffective in that they failed to adequately warn users of the high risk of injury associated with the mini-trampoline. In another such case, Steel V. Murray Ohio Mfg. Co. claimed that manufacturer-marketing techniques used to sell products are intentionally masking the risks faced by the consumer, thus blinding them from the products defects.

When a front tire of a bicycle went into a pothole the riders foot slipped off the metal pedal causing the saw-like edge of the pedal to strike the riders Achilles tendon, thus damaging it to the point where doctors had to remove it completely. The extreme nature of the event of riding blinded the consumer of the possible hazards involved in participating in such an action. It was alleged that the producer didnt inform the consumer of such horrific occurrences, occurrences that had happened prior to Steels accident. The nature of the event was unreasonably dangerous and the action resulted in a hefty settlement for Steel. Strict Liability in Tort is the understanding that some products are designed with all care to inform the user of the possible hardships and hazards of the product. Because the producer has done everything in their power to inform the user of the possible hardships, no breach of duty has occurred.

However, strict liability tort concludes that the product contained a defect that led directly to the injury of the consumer. Aquino v. Pepsico. A coach bought a football helmet with an inferior rivet. While a football player attempted to tackle a player of the opposing team, the rivet failed to support the helmet on his head. It was later found out that the helmet was made with cheap imitation carbon steel rivets.

Because of the inferior design, the rivets rusted and broke on impact. Paralyzing the player for life. It was alleged that the manufacturing specifications called stainless steel rivets. The football player received the low grade susceptible ones. Because of the strict liability tort, the player received a settlement of $1 million dollars cash, and $2,000 dollars per month for life, increasing %30 annually.

There is no defense for the theory of strict liability failure cases. The third theory of products liability is breach of warranty. Whenever the product purchased doesnt perform in the way that it was warranted. Or doesnt live up to expectations from the consumer, breach of warranty has occurred. An example of this can be found in the text book. In the text, an inflatable raft claims that it can hold upwards of 150 pounds of weight without going under.

However, if 100 pounds of pressure was applied to raft and it sunk, then breach of warranty has occurred. The book also states that even in the absence of expressed warranties, the purchaser may be able to get implied warranties under the UCC. The Uniform Commercial Code is applicable to all transactions in good manufactured goods. In defenses of product liability, the defendant has the immediate advantage by possessing general knowledge about the products technological background. There are two basic approached to a defense.

The defendant can deny all the plaintiffs allegations, or it can use special defense aimed at the alleged defect. Defects are hard to define. Federal and state courts have pondered this very concept. Because of the influx of new equipment each year, it is virtually impossible to define a defect. This is by and far the biggest defense defendants have. Another defense is the plaintiff. The injured plaintiff has been consciously involved in sports activity, either as a voluntary participant or as a spectator.

Therefore, the three general defenses in products liability cases focus on the plaintiffs conduct in relation to the particular product under scrutiny. The defense of contributory negligence is governed by a reasonable person standard and is generally only viable to defend a negligence cause of action. If the purchaser has altered or misused the product, all warranties may become void, and the consumer is liable of any unfortunate circumstance that may befall them. Lastly, assumption of risk, which occurs when the plaintiff voluntarily encounters a known danger, is the most significant defense in product liability.