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Product Liability

Theories Of Liability, Historical Development, Negligence, Breach Of Warranty, Strict Liability, Defects

The responsibility of a manufacturer or vendor of goods to compensate for injury caused by defective merchandise that it has provided for sale.

When individuals are harmed by an unsafe product, they may have a CAUSE OF ACTION against the persons who designed, manufactured, sold, or furnished that product. In the United States, some consumers have hailed the rapid growth of product liability litigation as an effective tool for CONSUMER PROTECTION. The law has changed from caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware") to STRICT LIABILITY for manufacturing defects that make a product unreasonably dangerous. Manufacturers and others who distribute and sell goods argue that product liability verdicts have enriched plaintiffs' attorneys and added to the cost of goods sold. Businesses have sought TORT reform from state legislatures and Congress in hopes of reducing damage awards that sometimes reach millions of dollars.

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