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

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5

New Product Introduction: Product Safety Reviews Hazards Analysis, and Risk Assessment

When products fail the ultimate reliability test, consumer use and abuse, and end up being the subject of a product liability lawsuit, it is not just the product that ends up being scrutinized, but also the manufacturer's internal programs and efforts to ensure that the product would have been safe and reliable in the first place. Does the manufacturer have a product safety review team? Did they meet and review the product in question? Was there a design review meeting? Were the needed safeguards incorporated into the product that should have been there? Were the necessary warnings and instructions provided with the product that adequately identified and stressed the seriousness of potential hazards? Were these warning labels presented in such a conspicuous manner that the end-user would immediately see them?

All of these considerations and many more will be analyzed by the attorney for the plaintiff, who will try to prove the manufacturer negligent in the design and presentation of the product. The manufacturer has to be in a position to prove that they acted in a responsible manner, and that all such considerations in product design were properly addressed.

In the 3rd Restatement of Torts Section 2, subdivision (b) defines the test for determining whether a product is defectively designed. In the pertinent part, this section states the following: “A product is defective in design when the ...

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