Product Liability

Product refers to tangible personal property, such as children’s products, electronic devices or vehicles. Defective and dangerous products are the cause of thousands of injuries every year in the U.S. In this case, a manufacturer or seller is held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer. Defects may be: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing or failure-to-warn defects.

Design defects are present in a product from the beginning, even before it is manufactured and it fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations and do not constitute a safe product. Manufacturing defects occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship.

Marketing defects arise in products that carry inherent nonobvious dangers which could be mitigated through adequate warnings to the user. Warranties are statements by a manufacturer or seller concerning a product during a commercial transaction. Warranty claims commonly require privity between the injured party and the manufacturer or seller.

Product liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause.

Product liability laws consider that companies generally have a duty to protect consumers from potential hazards. Product liability laws vary from State to State, with their own set of rules and procedures and specific statutes affect a product liability action.

Because of the Firm’s broad experience in all types of litigation, we believe we bring a broader focus to the product case than the more specialized firms in this practice. For example, we have rejected the traditional wisdom that all issues in these cases must go to the jury and have found that an aggressive challenge to plaintiff’s proof of a product defect in the discovery phase of a case frequently has resulted in a successful motion for summary judgment, a nominal settlement or a voluntary dismissal.

The traditional product liability accident case all too often results in an expensive trial or a settlement on the courthouse steps or during jury deliberations. While this result cannot always be avoided and may even be desirable in some cases, we believe that an exclusively trial-oriented focus in these cases can result in missed opportunities for an early settlement or a dispositive motion.

Product liability actions are often quite complicated. We are or have been defense counsel in numerous product liability cases and recently have represented such well-known United States corporations as United Technologies Corporation, General Motors Corporation, Piper Aircraft, Cessna Aircraft, and Allied Aerospace Corporation.

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