Products Liability Newsletters
Products liability law covers personal injury and property damage that occurs when a defective product is used. A product is defective if its design makes it dangerous, if it was improperly manufactured or if the manufacturer failed to warn of the product’s dangers. You may be able to recover damages if you are injured while using a defective product. There are three theories of products liability: strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. This article covers a manufacturer’s liability for breach of warranty.
The Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 (Act) created the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission). Under the Act, the Commission has authority to adopt consumer product safety rules. The Act requires manufacturers to place warning labels and information labels on consumer products. The Act also requires manufacturers to report defects that have or may cause serious injury or death. Manufacturers must also report a product that fails to comply with a consumer product safety standard. The Act creates a federal tort cause of action for a knowing violation of safety standards or the Commission’s rules. Injured persons who win a lawsuit under the Act can receive attorney fees and recover expert witness fees.
Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides that kill pests such as insects, bacteria, viruses, weeds, fungi, and mice. Lawn and garden products (weed killers), ant and cockroach baits, insect repellents, and bathroom disinfectants are common pesticides. Most pesticides are chemical in nature but the number of biological pesticides, such as pheromones and microbes, is growing because they are safer than chemical pesticides.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates prescription drugs and medical devices. Physicians frequently prescribe approved drugs for uses that have not been approved by the FDA. This practice is referred to as off-label use. The FDA prohibits manufacturers from promoting off-label use. However, manufacturers indirectly promote the off-label use of their products in a variety of ways.
In the context of products liability litigation, damages means a monetary award to compensate an injured person for medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering associated with the injury. In addition, the courts can award punitive damages, also called exemplary damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the manufacturer or seller that caused the injury when the court finds that the misconduct of the manufacturer or the seller was outrageous. The courts try to deter similar conduct in the future by awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are aimed at deterrence and retribution.