PRODUCT LIABILITY LITIGATION AND THE CONCEPT OF DEFECTIVE GOODS: "REASONABLENESS" REVISITED?

It is noted that injury losses borne by individual users and consumers of products have been shifted increasingly to the sellers and manufacturers of those products. This article addresses the question of whether that shift has improved the overall workings of our tort loss distribution system. The theories of products liability are examined, and loss distribution-negligence versus strict liability is reviewed. The varieties of defect (manufacturing, design) are discussed. Strict liability is discussed in relation to the conceptual model for fault. As applied in manufacturing defect cases, the rule of strict liability can be viewed to a large extent as one of proof; plaintiffs were benefited primarily by a presumption or imputation of knowledge to the manufacturer, with the manufacturers conduct in marketing the product then measured against the familiar standard of reasonableness. In cases of conscious design choice, however, the rule of strict liability may have different implications. These implications are discussed. In cases of conscious design choice, the predominance of secondary loss spreading-deep pocket law-as a basis for strict liability becomes apparent. It is possible, however, that by permitting losses to be spread too broadly, the combination of strict liability and insurance has a perverse effect on the goal of primary loss reduction.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Southern Methodist University

    School of Law
    Dallas, TX  United States  75222
  • Authors:
    • Walkowiak, V S
  • Publication Date: 1979

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00300170
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Comments
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 28 1979 12:00AM