Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Federal Western District Court Applies Restatement (Third) in Products Case

Another Western District of Pennsylvania Federal Court decision has come down in favor of the application of the Restatement (Third) for products cases.

In Morris v. Phoenix Installation & Management Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 181018 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 30, 2013 Bissoon, J.), Judge Cathy Bissoon granted in part and denied in part a Motion for Summary Judgment in a products case.

Of note is the court's application of the Third Restatement applies to product liability actions in Pennsylvania and its ruling that it is unclear as to whether the assumption of risk doctrine applies under that Third Restatement in these types of cases. 

In the context of this case, the court also ruled that designs and technical drawings are not to be considered to be products.  The court also found that allowing others to copy a design does not make those parties, the seller of a product.  

Moreover, the court held that a company whose employees modified a product at a customer’s request is not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of substantial modification, as the modification, made by the defendant’s own employees, was arguably foreseeable.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

The Tort Talk Products Liability Restatement Scorecard, listing a number of case on the debate over whether to apply the Restatement (Second) or the Restatement (Third) can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James Beck, writer of the excellent Drug and Device Law Blog and who is affiliated with the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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