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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

XXI. Products Liability: Design Defect and Warning

Manufacturing defect cases can be straightforward: there’s an intended design, and then a variance that happens to make the product more dangerous, and the danger then materializes. But what if the design itself should be flawed? At least two approaches have emerged by which to judge a product’s design. The first, grounded in traditional warranty doctrine, asks whether consumer expectations are met by the product. The second, founded in traditional negligence doctrine, asks whether the product’s design well balances risks and benefits. Which approach do you suppose a manufacturer would favor to make liability as unlikely as possible?