Should Products Liability Be Based on Hindsight?
In designing and marketing new products, manufacturers face uncertainty regarding the harmful character of their products. If harm occurs due to a defective design, liability is imposed on manufacturers whenever the design of the product is determined to be unreasonably dangerous. In assessing the reasonableness of a design, courts often - although the doctrine is not settled - admit information which was acquired throughout the actual usage of the product - information that often was not scientifically available at the time of production. The Asbestos litigation is a prominent example of this practice. This paper examines the incentive effects of such hindsight.
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