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Under the plain language of Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.2948(2), a manufacturer has no duty to warn of a material risk associated with the use of a product if the risk: (1) is obvious, or should be obvious, to a reasonably prudent product user, or (2) is or should be a matter of common knowledge to a person in the same or a similar position as the person upon whose injury or death the claim is based. Accordingly, this statute, by looking to the reasonably prudent product user, or persons in the same or a similar position as the injured person, establishes an objective standard.
In April 1999, Cheryce Greene purchased a spray bottle of African Pride Ginseng Miracle Wonder 8 Oil, Hair and Body Mist-Captivate (Wonder 8 Hair Oil) from defendant Pro Care Beauty Supply, which is currently known as Super 7 Beauty Supply, Inc. Defendant A.P. Products, which was subsequently acquired by Revlon Consumer Products Corporation, packaged and labeled Wonder 8 Hair Oil.
Greene sued defendants after her 11-month-old son died after ingesting and inhaling hair oil, alleging that defendants breached their duty to warn that the product could be harmful.
Did the defendants have a duty under MCL 600.2948(2) to warn that their product could be harmful?
The court held that the trial court properly granted defendants' motion for summary disposition because under Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.2948(2), it was obvious to a reasonably prudent product user that a material risk was involved with ingesting and inhaling the hair gel, and therefore defendants had no duty to warn that it could be harmful. The hair gel was not marketed as safe for human consumption or ingestion, and the personal representative demonstrated an understanding that it posed a material risk. It would be obvious to a reasonably prudent product user that many oils, although natural, would pose a material risk if ingested or inhaled. In addition, the product label did not state that it contained only natural oils; it listed numerous other unfamiliar ingredients that a reasonably prudent product user would be loath to ingest. Because no warning was required, claims under Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.4947(6)(a), 440.2314(2)(e) were also rejected.