Products Liability

Course Number:

Credit Hours:
2 Credit Hours

This course will examine the historical origins, processes of change, and goals of modern products liability law. We will explore the basic doctrinal theories that support products liability actions against manufacturers negligence, warranty, and strict liability in relation to the manufacturing, design, and marketing processes. We will then examine the principles and proofs courts use to determine whether a product should be classified as defective, as applied to the separate defect categories of manufacture, design, and warnings. Special attention will be given to the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability, and to the controversial issue of whether and to what extent strict liability should apply to any or all of the defect types. The course will explore the need for, and problems connected with, expert testimony in the proof of products liability cases. We will consider the relevance of the passage of time on product defects, including so-called state of the art ; obvious and inherent dangers of products; problems of cause in fact and proximate cause; defenses based on plaintiff s conduct; and, if time permits, federal preemption and/or toxic substance litigation. The final grade will be based on class participation and a final exam.

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