Saturday, August 15, 2020

Recent law review article compares cost-benefit analysis and consumer expectation as the tests for determining design defects

In his article An Essay on the Quieting of Products Liability Law, 105 Cornell Law Review 101 (2020), Aaron D Twerski, one of the reporters of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability, compares the difference between the risk-utility test applied in most states (which relies on having the plaintiff prove a "reasonable alternative design (RAD)") and the consumer expectations test followed in 17 jurisdictions to determine if a product has a design defect.   He concludes that, regardless of the approach used, the vast majority of cases include proof of a RAD.

Twerski theorizes that using proof of a RAD: 1) tells “a far more compelling story” than consumer expectations; 2) relates to fault which, in turn, leads to higher damage awards; 3) may be needed as a substitute if a judge denies a “consumer expectations” instruction, and 4) supports the claim that a product disappoints consumer expectations.  

For a summary of the article go here.

No comments: