The product liability law contains different rules and theories that can help the injured person receive his or her compensation for caused injury (Three Legal Theories for Products Liability). The companies that makes product available to the common buyer (such as manufacturers, sellers, suppliers and distributors) can be held responsible about injures caused to buyer according to the product liability law. The law can be different in different states, so Wood can receive different court decisions on the same situation.
Concerning the situation described in the scenario about Wood’s injury, most probably he will provide suit against convenience store, the peanut manufacturer and jar manufacturer.
The suit against seller and manufacturers (peanut manufacturer and jar manufacturer) will be strict liability clime because it will point out on the product itself (a jar with peanuts). This kind of liability is implemented only when the product was dangerous unreasonably.
For putting strict liability claim following conditions should exist:
– Unreasonably dangerous defect of the product that caused injury to the consumer;
– The injury was caused when the product was used in the common way (usual for this product);
– There have been no significant changes of the product after the time from when it has been sold.
All necessary requirements have been observed. The jar when it is opened in a common way does not injure people. Furthermore there have been no any significant changes of the peanut jar after it have been bought.
The seller may be held liable if he is often engaged in selling of unreasonably dangerous products that are sold to buyer without any considerable changes of their condition. But the jar was opened by several times (Wood and his boarder took peanuts from the jar before the injury was caused).
Also, it will be very difficult to prove that the convenience store had a proper system of checking of defects of the products that were made by manufacturer; and it would be extremely difficult to prove that the seller caused the defect to the peanuts jar after receiving it form the manufacturing company. Furthermore, the convenience store has no possibility to check every received product (Proving Fault in a Product Liability Case).
Additionally, Wood will have not much possibilities to win the suit against convenience store because his boarder removed the part of the label contained the bar code for getting rebate.
Usually it is very difficult and expensive for the plaintiff to prove the negligence of the manufacturer. Usually the manufacturers should be deemed liable for manufacturing defects that took place during production process because of use of bad quality materials and not-corresponding way of manufacturing.
If Wood will bring suit against peanut manufacturer, he would have to prove that the company is liable for the injury caused by a package (a jar), but not by a direct product. The jars should be properly labeled, have corresponding instructions and warnings. The labeling should explain how to use the product and under what exact circumstances the product can be harmful for the buyer. These all should be controlled by the peanut manufacturer. But the injury caused to Wood was not direct fault of peanut manufacturer. Furthermore the part of the label was removed, so it would be very difficult to win the suit.
The manufacturer of jar may be deemed liable because it’s product was defective (even if the company was not neglect in making it). But the jar has been opened by Wood and his boarder before the injury was caused. Moreover, it was placed on the refrigerator (the manufacturer can prove that this could effected the jar). However Wood is most likely to win the suit from the jar manufacturer
But there is one sharp condition, owing to which the theory of the liability can be disregarder. In any way Wood must to prove that the bought product was defective when it left the hand of the plaintiff and the injury was caused directly by this defect. This is usually decided by the jury. If the jury would decide that the injury was caused by several facts, the main task of the brought suit would be also changed. In this case the jury would have to determine whether cause of injury was the defendant held liable was the main factor in inducing about the injury. So, in the court it should be considered whether a jar’s defect was the concurring reason of the accident.
Based on the scenario of the Woods injury special research was made to show the effectiveness and implementation of Wood’s case (if the bring the suit to the court) into real life. It was determined that the suit would be brought with the subject of strict liability, because it has all distinguish features of these kind of liability. Different situations were described: if Wood will bring suit against convenience store where the product was sold, against peanut manufacturer and against jar manufacturer. Numerous aspects of each suits were shown and it was determined that Wood is most likely to win the suit against jar manufacturer. However he would be faced to different problems.
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