Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Important Products Liability Decision from Third Circuit Court of Appeals

On July 12, 2011, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision in the case of Covell v. Bell Sports, Inc., No. 10-3860, slip op. (3d Cir. July 12, 2011), affirming the District Court's application of the Third Restatement of Torts and admission of evidence of compliance with industry and governmental standards.

In so ruling the Third Circuit reaffirms its prediction from the case of Berrier v. Simplicity Manufacturing, Inc., 563 F.3d 38 (3d Cir. 2009) cert. denied 130 S.Ct. 553 (2009), that, if faced with the issue, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would move to applying the Third Restatement's standards in products liability cases as opposed to standards set forth in Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965). 

It therefore appears that, by virtue of this Opinion, until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds otherwise the Third Restatement's "reasonableness"-based form of strict liability will be utilized in federal courts applying Pennsylvania law. 

I thank Attorney C. Scott Toomey of the Radnor, Pennsylvania law firm of Littleton, Joyce, Ughetta, Park & Kelly, LLC for bringing this case to my attention.  Attorney Toomey was one of the attorneys on the prevailing defense side.

I also thank Attorney James Beck of the Drug and Device Law Blog for the heads-up on this case.  Here's a link to his blog post describing the decision: 


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