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Product Liability

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  • 1. Product Liability Satya Ranjan Swain B.A.LL.B (Hons.) 2nd yr.
  • 2. Introduction • Product liability is a tortuous liability. It refers to the liability of the manufacturer of the product, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner and all others who made the product available to the consumer, for damage suffered.
  • 3. • There are three types of product defects that incur liability of manufacturers and suppliers: • design defects • manufacturing defects and • defects in marketing. • Design defects are inherent. On the other hand, manufacturing defects occur during the construction or production of the item. Defects in marketing deal with improper instructions and failures to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product.
  • 4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AIMS AND OBJECTIVE • The researcher has • The aims and objectives are used the doctrinaire to critically study about the methodology which product liability, which includes analytical, effectively answers the descriptive and problems, faced by the comparative method. consumer, and for a fair distribution of the risks inherent from the modern technological production.
  • 5. Scope And Limitation • The scope of the project is confined to the Indian law with reference to English law, the application and limitation of the liability, for the harm caused to the consumer and various cases relating to the product liability. • But due to the lack of time and inadequate materials, the researcher could not cover the English and Indian law, as a whole, relating to product liability.
  • 6. Hypothesis • The concept of product liability as developed in Britain is the basis for the modern Indian law on the issue and the ‘Law of Consumer Protection’ is a step towards the development of Indian Law.
  • 7. Issues • Why manufacturer and others who make the product available to the public are held liable? • To what extent a manufacturer and others can be made liable? • What is the present law relating to product liability?
  • 8. Foundation • In the case of DONOGHUE V. STEVENSON, the pursuer, who had consumed part of the contents of a ginger beer which allegedly contained the remains of decomposing snail, sue the manufacturer of the ginger beer. • In this case the Hon’ble Court has given the doctrine of proximity. According to the doctrine of proximity or closeness the manufacturer is liable for the product. •
  • 9. Application • Donoghue v. Stevenson applied only to products, and originally only to food-stuffs. • Later the principle was extended to any manufactured products such as an article of wear 1, motor cars 2, lifts 3 etc. • 1 Grant v. Australian Knitting Mills Ltd. (1936) AC 85 • 2 Herschtal vs. Stewart (1948) 1 KB 85 • 3 Haseldine vs. Daw (1941) 1 KB 343
  • 10. Privity Of Contract: Liability Confined To The Seller • The doctrine of ‘Privity of contract’ imposes serious limitations on ‘product liability’. The buyer’s remedy is only available against the actual seller. • If the buyer wises to sue the manufacturer he cannot prime facie invoked the strict liability involved in a breach of condition or warranty. At common law this principle sources of remedies against a manufacturer lay in negligence, showing breach of collateral contract, or through third party proceedings.
  • 11. Contd. • However, there is now a major statutory modification of the common law position in the part of the consumer protection act 1987 act provides remedies in addition to , rather than in substitution of, those previously available, it is still necessary to consider the position at common law.
  • 12. Liability Under Consumer Protection Act 1987 Where any damage is caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product, • The producer of the product; • Any person who, by putting his name on the product or using a trademark or other distinguishing mark in the relation to the product, has held himself out to be the producer of the product; • Any person who has imported the product into a member state from a place outside the member states in order, in the course of any business of his, to supply it to another shall be liable for the damage.
  • 13. Collateral Contract • One common law expedient where by a buyer may be able to hold a manufacturer strictly liable despite the apparent absence of Privity is the collateral contract. • In the case of WELLS V BUCKLAND SAND the plaintiff bought sand for growing chrysanthemums in reliance on an express assurance that the sand was suitable for this purpose. This assurance was not given by the seller but by the manufacturer. It was held that there is a collateral contract, and the buyer was entitled to damages when the sand proves unsuitable and the buyer suffered loss.
  • 14. LIMITATIONS on the rights to sue the manufacturer • A claimant has 3 years to bring an action, from either the date on which the action accrued or, if latter, the date of his knowledge (i.e., knowledge of the material facts giving rise to a cause of action).
  • 15. Conclusion • Thanks to the judiciary the concept of product liability is in our reach. It makes the producer more careful and save us from the consumption of the defective goods and services.