Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
If the loss for a particular injury is to be apportioned between the product defect and the plaintiff's misconduct, the only conceptual basis for comparison is the causative contribution of each to the particular loss or injury. In apportioning damages the court is really asking how much of the injury was caused by the defect in the product versus how much was caused by the plaintiff's own actions. "Comparative causation" is a conceptually more precise term than "comparative fault" because fault alone without causation does not subject one to liability.
The injured party was hurt when he tried to install equipment made by manufacturer. The jury found the injured party to be partially negligent in the actions that were based on negligence and strict products liability. As a result, the trial court reduced the injured party's award proportionately to his degree of negligence.
Did the trial court properly apply the doctrine of comparative negligence under 5 V.I. Code Ann. § 1451?
The court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly applied the doctrine of comparative negligence under 5 V.I. Code Ann. § 1451 to the strict products liability claims. The court reasoned that the manufacturer should not have been required to pay for damages that were not completely its fault. The verdict amount was affirmed because the manufacturer did not object to the closing argument in which a specific award amount was requested, such a request was not improper, and the amount was not excessive given the evidence. The jury instruction error was harmless.