Update on U.S. Product Liability Law
Product liability law has continued to evolve dramatically within the past year. Recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions have narrowed the jurisdictions in which product manufacturers can be haled into court, see Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Calif., 137 S. Ct. 1773, 1778 (2017); BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S. Ct. 1549, 1554, 1559 (2017), while various courts’ interpretations of law on federal pre-emption, the admissibility of expert causation testimony, and class certification requirements continue to impact the defences available to companies facing product liability litigation.
Although the use of multi-district litigation (“MDL”) has decreased in recent years, it continues to be a major vehicle for product liability litigation, and one capable of subjecting defendants to significant litigation, particularly through industry-wide MDLs and multi-plaintiff trials.
As the design, manufacturing, and function of traditional products rapidly evolve through the advent of new technologies, courts, regulators, practitioners and companies alike will be forced to reexamine, develop, and adapt product liability law in the years to come.
This chapter provides updates on each of the following topics:
- Personal Jurisdiction;
- Federal Preemption;
- Class Actions;
- Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Trends;
- Admissibility of Expert Causation Testimony; and
- Emerging Areas of Product Liability Law.
This chapter appeared in the 2018 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Product Liability; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London.