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Lawsuit!: Reducing the Risk of Product Liability for Manufacturers by Randall L. Goodden

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An Introduction to Products Liability

The United States has been dubbed the “birthplace of product liability.” Developing from the Industrial Revolution, U.S. product liability law is derived from case law and restatements of law anchored in contract and tort. It is based on the belief that consumers need protection from business and that business should bear the costs of harms inflicted on consumers. Every year tens of thousands of product liability lawsuits are filed in Civil and Federal courts throughout the United States, as various parties seek financial compensation from manufacturers and other companies in the distribution chain for what they allege was a defective product that caused property damage or personal injury. There are continuous demands for reform in an attempt to bring under control runaway jury awards and reduce the numbers of frivolous lawsuits, areas that have plagued the U.S. legal process for decades, but such reform is immediately fought by the plaintiff's bar because of the lucrative nature of this field.

Defense attorneys and their corporate clients are stunned by some of the jury verdicts. Many juries seem to have become desensitized to the large amounts of money they are awarding. “It's as if it is some kind of television game show, or they act like it's not real money they're talking about,” defense attorneys have been quoted as saying, but this surely is not the case for the manufacturing and insurance companies having to pay these verdicts, or ...

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