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Products Liability Defenses Summarized By Product Liability Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Products Liability Defenses

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This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Products Liability Defenses.For more information on products liability see the pages on Wikipedia.  

Products Liability Defenses-Cases

2002 Jones v. Ford Motor Co., 263 Va. 237, 559 S.E.2d 592.

Products liability defenses. Action against Ford alleging sudden acceleration. Contributory negligence instruction may be appropriate since evidence justified conclusion that if alleged defect caused sudden acceleration, then motorist could have stopped car by applying brake pedal. If this instruction was granted, however, then plaintiff was entitled to sudden emergency instruction. Contributory negligence is not bar to breach of warranty claim.

2000 Cooper Indus., Inc. v. Melendez, 260 Va. 578, 537 S.E.2d 580.

Plaintiff was worker at navy yard where electrical equipment was alleged to have malfunctioned. Issue is whether that malfunction or defect was proximate cause of injury or was misuse of product proximate cause of injury. Plaintiff could not recover for breach of warranty if product was misused in a way not originally foreseeable and that misuse was the proximate cause of injury. Court further instructed jury that if defendant breached an implied warranty of merchantability and as such, breach was a cause of accident, then plaintiff had met burden of proof. In this case, issue of misuse and proximate cause were properly submitted to the jury.

1996 Morgen Indus., Inc., v. Vaughan, 252 Va. 60, 471 S.E.2d 489.

Products liability defenses. Action where manufacturer argued that he was entitled to instruction based upon plaintiff’s employer being sophisticated user. Argument on instructions was off record and as such Supreme Court is only confronted with instructions as marked “refused” along with citations to various cases at the bottom of refused instructions. This is insufficient to comply with Rule 5:25.

1995 Wood v. Bass Pro Shops, 250 Va. 297, 462 S.E.2d 101.

Although defense of assumption of the risk is not applicable in action for breach of implied warranty, other defenses are available such as unforeseen misuse of product and known, visible, or obvious defect.

1989 White Consol. Indus, v. Swiney, 237 Va. 23, 376 S.E.2d 283.

Plaintiff bought new stove. After installation, clock did not work and burners malfunctioned. Stove, after nine months of use, caught fire. Stove did not function for intended purpose. An unforeseen misuse of product would bar implied warranty claim. Continued use in this case is foreseeable and does not constitute misuse.

1987 Blake Constr. Co. v. Alley, 233 Va. 31, 353 S.E.2d 724.

Lack of privity may be available defense in products case where only injury is economic loss and not injury to person or property. Virginia Code § 8.01-223 may not apply to this instance.

1982 Ford Motor Co. v. Bartholomew, 224 Va. 421, 297 S.E.2d 675.

Implied warranty does not apply when product is being used in manner for which it was not intended.

1979 Featherall v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 219 Va. 949, 252 S.E.2d 354.

No duty to warn if product is not dangerous or when product is used in unlikely, unexpected or unforeseeable manner. Plaintiff established prima facie case of negligent failure to warn, as manufacturer could reasonably have foreseen danger, if product was used without locknut in adjusting screw.

1975 Turner v. Manning, 216 Va. 245, 217 S.E.2d 863.

Plaintiff was using hoist for purpose for which it was not intended. Motion to strike plaintiff’s evidence affirmed. Implied warranty not applicable when product is being used in manner or for purpose for which it was not intended.

1974 Layne-Atlantic Co. v. Koppers Co., 214 Va. 467, 201 S.E.2d 609.

Manufacturer cannot be held to foresee unanticipated misuse of product.

1965 Brockett v. Harrell Bros., 206 Va. 457, 143 S.E.2d 897.

Products liability defenses.Careful inspection by defendant prior to delivery is not material in implied warranty case. Warranty actions are ex contractu. Contributory negligence is not available defense, but assumption of risk is.

1950 Newport News Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Babb, 190 Va. 360, 57 S.E.2d 41.

Products liability defenses.In negligence action, showing of high degree of care on part of defendant may rebut any inference of negligence.

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Products Liability Defenses Summarized By Product Liability Attorney

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation