Describe the product subject to recall, including the recall date, recall number, and the reason for the recall.

Visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Click on Recalls. Choose one product that has been recalled.
1.Describe the product subject to recall, including the recall date, recall number, and the reason for the recall.
2.Analyze whether the manufacturer would be liable for negligence if the product had not been recalled and had caused harm to a consumer.
3.Discusses the following in relation to the product recall: a.Duty of Care
b.Standard of Care
c.Breach of the Duty of Care
d.Actual Causation
e.Proximate Causation
f.Actual Injury
g.Defenses to Negligence

4.Analyze and apply a relevant consumer protection statute identified under “Consumer Protection” in Chapter 8 of your text in conjunction with the product recall that you have identified. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.

CHAPTER 8
Under certain circumstances, a person who is neither negligent nor guilty of an intentional tort may still be required to pay damages for injuries that result from his or her activities if that person engages in certain types of businesses that by definition are highly dangerous.

Ultra-Hazardous Activities

Ultra-hazardous activities such as the manufacturing or handling of explosives, for example, can never be made completely safe because of the nature of the materials involved. Persons who suffer an injury as a result of an ultra-hazardous activity are entitled to compensation without needing to show the defendant’s fault or negligence. Once harm is linked to the ultra-hazardous activity, liability is absolute and automatic; the only issue becomes what compensation to award plaintiffs for their damages.

As with other torts, the defense of assumption of the risk may be available to defendants in absolute liability actions if it can be shown that a plaintiff knowingly and intentionally assumed the risk. Thus, while a defendant is normally absolutely liable for harm caused by an ultra-hazardous activity such as blasting or demolition work, a plaintiff who willfully walks into a building that is being demolished, ignoring obvious warnings to keep out, would be held to have assumed the risk of his injuries and barred from recovering damages for them.

Strict Liability in Tort

In contrast with absolute liability, strict liability is a recently developed theory in law that holds manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers liable for defects in the design or manufacturing of products that render such products unreasonably dangerous to the intended users. It is not to be confused with the absolute liability that results from engaging in ultra-hazardous activities, discussed in the previous section, which pertain to specific types of businesses, such as those that handle explosives. In strict liability, a manufacturer makes an unreasonably dangerous product owing to design or manufacturing defects. Examples include spoiled food, automobile tires that experience blowouts due to a manufacturing defect during normal use, and a car that ignites when rear-ended because of a defective design (see The Ford Pinto Case). Product liability, on the other hand, is the name given to the type of lawsuit in which the plaintiff sues for his or her injuries under three causes of action: warranty, negligence, and strict liability.

In order for strict liability to attach, the product must be unreasonably dangerous for its intended use, owing to a design or manufacturing defect, and the product must reach the consumer in unaltered form. (Products that are customized or otherwise changed after their manufacture and before they are sold to consumers are not subject to product liability claims because consumers injured by such altered products can still sue either the manufacturer or customizer under a negligence theory.)

It should be noted that the mere fact that a product is dangerous will not subject its manufacturer to a product liability claim; the product must be unreasonably dangerous owing to a design or manufacturing defect. Knives, guns, razor blades, and power tools all pose a danger even when properly used; therefore, before consumers can sue for product liability relating to these or any other product, they must show that the product was not merely dangerous but unreasonably so. Thus, a gun that explodes when fired, a drill that short-circuits and shocks the user when properly used, or a chain saw whose chain breaks and flies off during proper use would all qualify as strict product liability examples.

In addition, manufacturers generally do not have a duty to warn a customer about a product unless the manufacturer “knew or should have known” that the product would be used in a dangerous manner by the customer; had no reason to believe that the customer would realize the danger of the product; and failed to exercise reasonable care to inform the customer of the danger (Restatement of Torts §388). Consider, for example, the case of a lathe operator using a pair of safety glasses that shattered when hit by an object (American Optical Co. v. Weidenhamer, 457 N.E.2d 181 [Ind. 1983]). The court found no duty to warn on behalf of the manufacturer because the glasses were being used for their intended purpose and manufacturers cannot be liable for every type of incident possible. Similarly, if the manufacturer is unaware of any defect in the product, it has no duty to warn.

In summary, three criteria for strict product liability need to be met:
•The product was properly used;
•The product arrived to the consumer from the manufacturer in unaltered form; and
•The product malfunctioned because of a manufacturing or design defect.

A Closer Look: The Ford Pinto Case

1976 photo of two-door hatchback Ford Pinto.
Associated Press

Failure to enact safety measures for the Ford Pinto led to a series of burn-related injuries and deaths in the 1970s.

One of the most famous cases involving negligence and product liability is the Ford Pinto case. While this might seem outdated (as it involves a 1977 automobile), the lessons to be learned from the actions of Ford Motor Company and its managers are enduring. Start by reading the original lawsuit, Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., (119 Cal. App. 3d 757, 174 Cal. Rptr. 348 Cal. App. [4 Dist. 1981]), and then answer the following questions:

Critical Thinking Questions
1.Who were the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, and what causes of action were they suing under?
2.Describe the designing and marketing of the Ford Pinto that took place at Ford.
3.What type of crash tests were performed by Ford on the car, and what were the results of the tests? What were the recommendations that resulted from the tests?
4.What were Ford Motor Company’s responses to the recommendations? Why?
5.Who was Mr. Copp, and what role did he play in this case?
6.What was the design defect test, as formulated by the California courts?
7.What are some of the reasons the court upheld the amount of the punitive damages award?

Next Read Mark Dowie’s article, “Pinto Madness,” and answer the following questions:

Questions to Consider
1.What exactly was wrong with the car? What were its design flaws?
2.Why was the car built with such a defect?
3.Did the Ford management know there was anything wrong with the car?
4.What were the managerial decisions that led to the design flaw in the Ford Pinto?
5.What actions by managers could have been taken to avoid these flaws?
6.What was Ford’s “cost–benefit analysis”?
7.What internal memos existed from Ford workers, and what did they describe regarding the Pinto?
8.What can you conclude from reading this case about the culture at Ford Motor Company at the time this car was designed? If you were in charge at the time, what would you have done differently?

Consumer Protection

Given the number of products manufactured each year that kill or maim individuals, the government has stepped in and created an administrative agency to deal with consumer protection: the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This federal agency is “charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction” (click here). For example, the agency keeps track of amusement park ride injuries and regulates that industry. In 2001, it reported that there were more than “8,313 non-occupational amusement ride injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms” (click here). Considering that this is only one industry the agency oversees, that is an astounding number of injuries caused by faulty products.

Consumer safety has hundreds of guidelines and statutes associated with it. They range from the well-known Consumer Product Safety Act (and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, enacted in 2008 to modernize the law) to the more obscure Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (passed in 2007 to mitigate the dangers associated with pools and spas); the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (passed to protect children under the age of five from poisonings caused by open containers); and the Flammable Fabrics Act (passed to regulate the flammability of children’s clothing), to name a few.

The website maintained by the agency at http://www.cpsc.gov is a first-rate source of information about agency news and the current status of laws protecting consumers.<

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