Executive Summary

Product liability is a turning involvement in about all parts of the universe. The doors of justness are opened to innocent and incapacitated consumers who can inquire makers of merchandises to counterbalance them for amendss incurred after utilizing their merchandises. The load of liability is placed upon makers and manufacturers who could non utilize any defence to acquit themselves from rigorous liability jurisprudence.

There are two rules that form the foundations on merchandise liability. viz. . rigorous liability. and carelessness. Therefore. makers are bound to do a wise estimation of how much harm it may be apt in the hereafter should any instance be filed against it on merchandise liability. In consequence. any maker should guarantee that the “good” of the merchandise outweighs the “harm” that it may do to any consumer if such merchandise is put in the market. This is the societal duty of makers and a precaution to consumers. Never head if the cost is passed on to the consumers as may be incorporated in the cost of the merchandise for every bit long as there is an confidence that in any future contingency. the maker would be able to reply to the liability and pay the cost of harm.

Punitive amendss that may be awarded on top of the existent amendss incurred would be up to the tribunals of justness to find. The ground behind the grant is to discourage similar instances in the hereafter. Puting a cap on punitory amendss is striping a complainant his twenty-four hours in tribunal while it besides limits the authorization that our Torahs have vested in the tribunals of justness. Any jurisprudence to that consequence is merely contradicting an individual’s right to be to the full recompensed for any harm that may be incurred due on merchandise liability instances. Therefore. as in other instances on civil wrongs and delicts. it is best left to the tribunals of justness to set up the punitory harm that may be imposed against makers whose merchandise caused harm to any of its consumers.

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Should Punitive Damages In Products Liability Cases Be Capped

The history of merchandise liability jurisprudence dates back to the 1800’s when one Englishman. Mr. Winterbottom filed a instance against the maker of a mail manager due to hapless building. Mr. Winterbottom. who was the driver of the mail manager of the Postmaster General. was earnestly injured when the mail manager collapsed. The theory advanced at that clip was to restrict the liability to individuals with privity of contracts. Mr. Winterbottom was non secluded to the contract of purchase between the Postmaster General and the maker of the mail manager. Thereby. the instance was dismissed.

As the fabrication industry advanced. quality control of the merchandises being produced by makers has become a topic of involvement to many sectors of society. The concern of course required the authoritiess to ordain Torahs which would guarantee protection of consumers. However. while many Torahs could be enacted to guarantee full protection of the consuming markets. conformity to these Torahs would besides stay a inquiry. Therefore. it has been inevitable that instances on merchandise liability piled up in the tribunals of justness in all states of the universe. The difference. though. is that where before the “little and helpless” consumers would hold a hard clip to raise their concerns and seek damages ; in these times where consciousness on merchandise liability has been brought to the bow. makers with large pockets are made to counterbalance consumers for amendss incurred.

There is no inquiry that makers should be made apt to pay for amendss that any of their merchandises may hold caused on the devouring public. The jurisprudence on rigorous liability has become the footing on findings of the tribunal as it decides on how much liability any maker is to shoulder and pay to the consumer in a peculiar instance. Strict liability jurisprudence stresses the liability on the merchandise in contrast to the rule of carelessness which places the duty on some Acts of the Apostless of the maker.

In the instance of Greenman v Yuba Power Products. Inc. the California Supreme Court assigned rigorous liability to a maker.

“…… . . who placed on the market a faulty merchandise even though both privity of contract and notice of breach of guarantee were missing. The tribunal rejected both contract and guarantee theories. express or implied. as the footing for liability. Rigorous liability does non rest on a consensual foundation but. instead. on one created by jurisprudence. The liability was created judicially because of the economic and societal demand for the protection of consumers in an progressively complex and mechanised society. and because of the restrictions in the carelessness and guarantee redresss. The court’s avowed intent was “to insure that the costs of hurts ensuing from faulty merchandises are borne by the maker that put such merchandises on the market instead than by the injured individuals who are powerless to protect themselves. ” ( Greenman v. Yuba Power Products. Inc. [ 1963 ] 59 Cal. 2d 57 [ 13 A. L. R. 3d 1049 ] .

Negligence. on the other manus. topographic points upon the complainant to turn out that the maker acted or failed to move on something which resulted to the harm caused by the merchandise. While the maker. in such instance. would still be held apt to counterbalance for harm incurred by the consumer. the sum and grade of liability would be abated based on the extent of defence that the maker could successfully convey Forth to the tribunal in the instant instance. Thus. following this line of concluding. there is a hazard that the complainant may non be to the full recompensed for the harm incurred. In fact. there is a opportunity that the cause of the complainant may be denied.

“The most obnoxious facets of asbestos judicial proceeding can be briefly summarized: dockets in both federal and province tribunals continue to turn ; long holds are everyday ; tests are excessively long ; the same issues are litigated over and over ; dealing costs exceed the victims’ recovery by about two to one ; exhaustion of assets threatens and distorts the procedure ; and future claimants may lose wholly. ” Report of The Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation 2-3 ( Mar. 1991 ) .

In recent instances. merchandises liability claims are based non on carelessness. but instead on rigorous liability. In the custodies of good and responsible people. this development is for the benefit of the greater figure of society – the consumers and the market. The load of turn outing liability is no longer entirely borne by the complainant. Proof of liability is much easier to raise and convey to the grasp of the tribunals. Therefore. more and more complainants have been to the full compensated.

Punitive amendss which are awarded on top of existent amendss create a different bearing in the instance. Its chief intent is to discourage others likewise situated to make conscienceless and similar Acts of the Apostless in the hereafter. The aim is to affect upon the head of the suspect and to the whole universe that such and similar Acts of the Apostless would non be tolerated by society in general. Therefore. in most instances. punitory amendss are about ever really high.

As in civil wrong instances. the Torahs of the land have placed upon our tribunals of justness the authorization to find the sum of punitory amendss that may be truly granted in a peculiar instance. Puting a cap to punitory amendss would be restricting the authorization of our tribunals of justness to move for and in behalf of the greater figure for the greater good. Conscienceless punitory amendss that are awarded and which are unacceptable to some parties could be raised to proper legal governments through proper legal class of action.

Puting a cap to punitory amendss that may be granted on merchandise liability instances is restricting the right of a complainant to seek damages of grudges and amendss incurred when and where proper. Both complainant and suspect have the chances to be heard in tribunal and about ever. makers have the best opportunities to protect their involvements with the extent of their capableness to litigate and prosecute their rights.

Puting a cap to punitory amendss is non the solution to acquit makers from liabilities. Preventive steps and full quality control of their goods from industry to market bringing should be enhanced and made the order of the twenty-four hours. Switching duties from the maker to the consumer is something that is non just and something that would work to the disadvantage of the devouring populace in the long tally.

Puting a cap on punitory amendss to merchandise liability could be interpreted as seting a bound to how much a consumer could be compensated for incurring harm. This is someway unsafe and hazardous as no maker could anticipate the extent of harm that their merchandises may do upon an person. Puting a cap to punitory amendss merely works as insurance to consumers that whatever may go on. they are entitled to a certain extent of compensation depending on how they can turn out the liability. Again the load of cogent evidence is shifted to the consumer and off from the maker.

“The differentiation between merchandises liability and carelessness was explained inJiminez v. Sears. Roebuck & A ; Co. ( 1971 ) 4 Cal. 3d 379. 383 [ 52 A. L. R. 3d 92 ] : “It is pointed out that in a merchandises liability instance the complainant in order to retrieve in rigorous liability in civil wrong must turn out that he was injured by a defect in the merchandise and that the merchandise was faulty when it left the custodies of the retail merchant or maker ; whereas to retrieve in carelessness the complainant must turn out the same two elements plus an extra component. viz. . that the defect in the merchandise was due to carelessness of the suspect. ”

This is a discreet going from the rigorous liability jurisprudence. In the instance of Green v. General Petroleum Corp. . where an oil good blew out through no mistake of the suspect. the tribunal trusting on Section 3514 of the Civil Code held that:

“The suspect was however apt. The instance has been by and large interpreted as one affecting rigorous liability for amendss ensuing from an ultrahazardous activity. It is non important that a belongings harm. as distinguished from a personal hurt. was at that place involved. The of import factor is that certain activities under certain conditions may be so risky to the public by and large. and of such comparative infrequent happening. that it may good name for rigorous liability as the best public policy. ” Green v. General Petroleum Corp. ( 1928 ) 205 Cal. 328 [ 60 A. L. R. 475 ] .

Cases on merchandise liability are reasonably much similar to tort instances. Tort is a civil wrong which consequences to an hurt or injury giving a individual a cause of action to seek damages of the incorrect largely through alleviation of amendss incurred. Sanctions for condemnable Acts of the Apostless may besides be imposed but the injured individual would about ever seek for pecuniary recompense for amendss incurred such as loss of gaining capacity. hurting and agony. and sensible medical disbursals.

Therefore. like any other civil wrong instances under the civil jurisprudence where no cap to punitory amendss is imposed or established. it is unjust and unconstitutional to put a cap on punitory amendss on merchandise liability instances. It is unconstitutional as it impinges on the right of a individual to be compensated for amendss incurred as granted to him under the civil jurisprudence.

In an of import but disconnected determination. State Farm v. Campbell. the U. S. Supreme Court in April held that “the Due Process Clause [ of the 14th amendment ] prohibits the infliction of grossly inordinate or arbitrary penalties on suspects in civil wrong instances. This was the 2nd High Court opinion in the past few old ages that justly objected to immerse punitory harm awards.

There are steps which guarantee that the tribunals do non allow conscienceless sums of amendss – existent and punitory. Puting a cap to punitory amendss is non the reply for makers to acquire an confidence and security that they would non be apt to pay for amendss that would convey their concern down. Well. foremost and first. manufacturers’ concern should be on the safety of its merchandises.

Second. being responsible corporate citizens would spell the difference when any maker is faced with the instance on merchandise liability. Actual. sincere. and timely concern to a instance brought by any complainant would guarantee that punitory amendss that may be awarded would be commensurate to the scheme and action program that the maker has undertaken to guarantee that the plantiff’s concern was addressed responsively and proactive steps are being strategized to forestall any other future happening. The load of cogent evidence still rests upon the maker and ne’er on the consumer.


  1. White. Robert Jeffrey. “Top 10 in civil wrongs: development in the common jurisprudence. ”Test32. no. 7 ( July 1996 ) : 50-53.
  2. McMahon & A ; Binchy. Law of Torts. Butterworths 3rd Ed. . par. 11. 113-114
  3. Jimenez v. Superior Court ( T. M. Cobb Co. ). 29 Cal. 4Thursday473 2002 )
  4. Supreme Court of Ireland Judgment. 3 November 1988.
  5. Fischer. David A ; Green. Michael ; Powers. Jr. William ; Sanders. Joseph. Fischer. Green. Powers and Sander’s Cases and Materials on Products Liability. 4Thursday. American Casebook series. Copyright 2006.
  6. Owen. David G ; Phillips. Jerry J. Owen and Phillips’ Products Liability in a Nutshell. 7th Edition ( Nutshell Series )
  7. Green v. General Petroleum Corp. ( 1928 ) 205 Cal. 328 [ 60 A. L. R. 475 ]
  8. Owens. Phillips. Products Liability. 7th erectile dysfunction. . 2005. 13-ISBN: 9780314155108
    Formats: Paperback-New SKU:
  9. Sumner. L. “Quality Assurance and Product Liability. ” Product Liability in Engineering. IEE Colloquium on Volume. Issue 6 Mar 1989. Pages 2/1 to 2/7.
  10. Greenman v. Yuba Power Products. Inc. ( 1963 ) 59 Cal. 2d 57 [ 13 A. L. R. 3d 1049 ] .
  11. Green v. General Petroleum Corp. ( 1928 ) 205 Cal. 328 [ 60 A. L. R. 475 ] .
  12. Jiminez v. Sears. Roebuck & A ; Co. ( 1971 ) 4 Cal. 3d 379. 383 [ 52 A. L. R. 3d 92 ] :

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