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Product Liability Litigation: Research Problem #1

Research Problem

Question

Potential client Mark calls a Missouri law firm to explain his situation. Mark claims he was injured when he was airing up a tire and the tire violently exploded. You are an associate in the law firm, and your supervising partner has asked for all of the potential product liability claims against the tire manufacturer under Missouri law? Additionally, the partner would like a refresher on the distinction between claims based on strict liability and those based on negligence. 

Answer

You have just started out at the firm, and this is your first product liability research question. In order to quickly get caught up on the law, you consult the Missouri Practice Series Personal Injury and Torts Handbook either in the firm library or on Westlaw. In Chapter 38, you find the chapter of the Handbook dedicated to Products Liability. In Section 38:2, the elements of the action are listed and you find the following claims:

   (1) Strict liability -- defective product

   (2) Strict liability -- failure to warn

   (3) Negligence -- defective product

   (4) Negligent failure to warn

Also in the Missouri Practice Series, Section 38:2, you will find the distinction between strict liability and negligence. Negligence claims involve an element of whether the defendant exercised ordinary care such as "the defendant failed to use ordinary care to manufacture or design the product to be reasonably safe" or "the defendant knew or by using ordinary care should have known of the dangerous condition of the product." Strict liability claims do not have an ordinary care element and hold the defendant liable regardless of negligence.