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Pennsylvania: retreat from strict product liability urged



In the asbestos case Bugosh v. I.U. North America, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is being urged to back away from the principle of strict product liability and instead adopt a standard imposing liability only when defendants have acted unreasonably. For decades the state has followed section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which provides for more or less automatic liability once a jury finds a product defective and injurious -- the "putting the product on trial" approach. In the Bugosh dispute, the trial judge consequently excluded defense testimony intended to show that the product distributor had acted in accord with the state of the art of its day on safety. Business groups have filed amicus briefs urging the court to move toward the standard of section 2 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability, which gives wider scope for such defenses. More: K&L Gates, Legal Intelligencer blog, LexisNexis Mealey's, NAM, WLF (the latter two with amicus brief links).

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.