ABA Fundamentals: Products Liability Law
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Although common law was imported from England, the law of products liability is entirely home-grown. Much of it has develop in response to perceived shortcomings and loopholes in the traditional common law, and some elements of American products liability law have now been exported back to England and to other overseas jurisdictions. Since its inception, the development of products liability law has tended to follow the traditional common law path of incremental change, based on both analogies with previous cases and judicial assessments as to what makes good policy. This means that much of the law in this area is still in flux, with the courts in different jurisdictions reaching different decisions as to whether a particular issue should be:
--Considered a question of law or of fact
--Determined in accordance with doctrines of contracts or torts
--Determined, if within the law of torts, in accordance with the Second or Third Restatement of Torts
--Treated as a matter of state or federal law
Products Liability Law certainly outlines the doctrines and approaches that are more-or-less universally accepted and applied, throughout the nation, but it does not stop there. It goes on not only to identify where there are controversies, but also to suggest appropriate strategies for framing events in a plausible and persuasive manner. There may be no national law of products liability, but proven techniques of legal reasoning carry weight everywhere.