Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Under Nevada law, strict liability may be imposed even though the product is faultlessly made if it was unreasonably dangerous to place the product in the hands of the user without suitable and adequate warning concerning safe and proper use. Inherent in this doctrine is that a product must include a warning that adequately communicates the dangers that may result from its use or foreseeable misuse.
Leo Gasse was killed, and Robin Lewis catastrophically injured due to carbon monoxide poisoning during an overnight outing in a Sea Ray pleasure boat at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lewis, along with Gasse's heirs, Teresa Rae Webb and Tricia Marie Gasse, brought suit against Sea Ray Boats, Inc., alleging that Sea Ray is strictly liable in tort in connection with the incident. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Sea Ray, finding that the boat was not a defective or unreasonably dangerous product. This appeal followed. Appellants' primary contention centers on the district court's failure to adopt appellants' proffered instructions on their theory of liability; that warnings concerning the risk of carbon monoxide migration secondary to use of the boat's air conditioning system were inadequate.
Were appellants entitled to more specific instructions with regard to the warnings issue?
The court reversed and remanded for a new trial. The court stated that appellants were entitled to more specific instructions with regard to the warning issues concerning the risk of carbon monoxide migration secondary to use of the boat's air conditioning. The jury asked for a definition of "adequate warning," but the district court rejected appellants' proposed treatise definition and refused to instruct the jury further, despite the confusion. The district court's "warnings" instructions provided very little in the way of guidance. On remand, the district court was to apply Nevada law instead of admiralty law, as the incident in question had no potential for disruption of maritime commerce on the lake.