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Products Liability Newsletters

Apportionment of Liability

The apportionment of liability between multiple defendants in product liability actions varies from state to state. The state laws governing apportionment of liability range from joint and several liability to proportionate liability to various hybrid forms of apportionment. Under the theory of joint and several liability, a plaintiff could recover all of his or her damages against only one of multiple defendants. Joint and several liability was designed to allow plaintiffs to recover from some defendant instead of having to pursue all potential defendants who could avoid liability by blaming the injury on other defendants. Joint and several liability places the burden on the defendant of joining other tortfeasors in an action or risk having to pay for all of a plaintiff’s damages alone.

Intermediaries’ Liability for Distributing Drugs and Medical Devices

As a general rule, intermediaries (retailers, distributors, or wholesalers involved in distributing drugs and medical devices) have the same liability for a drug or medical device as the drug company that manufactured the product. Intermediaries that merely distribute the product can generally avoid liability, but distributors whose only activity involved unwrapping and rewrapping the products for sale to the retailer have been held liable. Some states have laws that prevent non-manufacturers from being held liable for injuries caused by defective products.

Intrauterine Device Litigation

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control that became popular in the 1960s. An IUD is a device that is inserted into a woman’s body. It prevents a fertilized egg from implanting.

National Standards for Organic Foods

Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which requires certification by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before farms or processors can label their agricultural products as organic. In 2001, the USDA implemented the National Organic Program, which defines the term “organic.” The program also specifies the methods, practices, and substances that can be used in producing and handling organic crops and livestock. These standards also apply to processed products.

Product Misuse Defense in Products Liability Lawsuits

Strict product liability means holding the manufacturer or seller of defective products responsible if the product injures a consumer who buys or uses the product. The courts impose liability for personal injury and property damage caused by products that are defectively designed or manufactured.