Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
In a strict products liability case, if the plaintiff proves that the product was unreasonably dangerous per se or unreasonably dangerous in construction or composition, a manufacturer may be held liable for injuries caused by an unreasonably dangerous product, although the manufacturer did not know and reasonably could not have known of the danger.
Appellee widow brought a wrongful death action against an asbestos manufacturer alleging that her husband's death was caused by exposure to asbestos. Appellee invoked Louisiana's strict product liability tort law under the district court's diversity jurisdiction. Before trial, the district court excluded all evidence of whether the manufacturer knew or could have known of the dangers of asbestos on the ground that such evidence was irrelevant as to whether the product was unreasonably dangerous. The district court found that the manufacturer's asbestos products were unreasonably dangerous and had been a proximate cause of the decedent's death. The manufacturer appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. A divided three judge panel of that court affirmed. Acting en banc, however, the Court of Appeals recalled its decision and certified a question.
In a strict products liability case, may a manufacturer be held liable for injuries caused by an unreasonably dangerous product if the manufacturer established that it did not know and reasonably could not have known of the inherent danger posed by its product?
On certification of the intermediate appellate court's question, the court held that a manufacturer could be held liable for injuries caused by an unreasonably dangerous product even if the manufacturer could not have known of the product's inherent danger. The court held that, in such a situation, it was only fair that the manufacturer would bear the cost of the damages caused by its products.