Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Court Allowed to Instruct Products Liability Jury on Both Risk-Utility Test and Consumer Expectation Test If Warranted by Evidence

In the case of Davis v. Volkswagen, No. 1405 EDA 2018 (Pa. Super. July 19, 2019 Bowes, J., McLaughlin, J., Stabile, J.) (Op. by McLaughlin, J.)(Stabile, J., Concurring), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas did not commit any error in a products liability case when it instructed the jury on both the consumer expectation test and the risk-utility test that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court established in the case of Tincher v. Omega-Flex, even though the Plaintiff only litigated the case under the consumer expectation test.  

The court noted that, although the Plaintiff argued that the trial court judge should not have instructed the jury on both tests, Pennsylvania law under Tincher allowed jury instructions on both tests where evidence was presented by the defense at trial regarding the same.  

According to the Opinion, the defense put in evidence that, according to the trial court and the appellate court, put the risk-utility test at issue in this crashworthiness case.  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of the Majoirity Opinion of this non-precedential decision may click this LINK.  The Concurring Opinion can be viewed HERE.

Source: Article - “Superior Court Addresses Post-‘Tincher’ Jury Instructions In Volkswagen Crashworthiness Case” by Max Mitchell in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 31, 2019).   

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