U.S. product liability law has continued to evolve over the past year. Courts have arguably narrowed the scope of federal personal jurisdiction, and have continued to interpret the applicability of federal preemption to tort claims addressing pharmaceutical products. Additionally, given the prevalence of multi-district litigation (“MDL”) that continues to encompass a substantial portion of civil cases in federal court – especially those involving product liability claims – problems pertaining to MDLs have garnered significant attention. Proposed MDL rule changes, if implemented, would likely alter the product liability landscape. Finally, as the design, manufacturing, and function of traditional products evolve through the advent of new technologies, courts, regulators, practitioners, and companies are being forced to re-examine, develop, and adapt product liability law.
This chapter summarizes and provides updates on each of the following topics pertaining to U.S. product liability law:
- Personal Jurisdiction;
- Federal Preemption;
- MDLs; and
- Emerging Areas of Product Liability Law.
This chapter appeared in the 2020 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Product Liability; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London.