Florida Supreme Court Clarifies Test in Product Liability Cases

If a product has injured you, you may be able to seek compensation for your harm. Product liability cases are extremely complex, and having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference in your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our product liability attorneys understand the nuances of this area of law and will take the time to meticulously scrutinize the facts of your case.

In Aubin v. Union Carbide, the Florida Supreme Court reversed an appellate court’s adoption of more stringent proof requirements for injured parties.

The facts of the case are as follows. William Aubin filed the lawsuit after he contracted a fatal and incurable type of cancer known as mesothelioma in 2008. Aubin claimed that he got the disease by working with asbestos containing joint compound and texture sprays made by Georgia Pacific and provided by his employer. Aubin stated that Georgia Pacific did not warn users to wear masks to avoid the danger of inhaling the product’s hazardous dust. This, however, was not the issue in the lawsuit. Instead, Aubin said that the company Union Carbide, which mined, processed, and sold the asbestos to Georgia Pacific, should be held accountable for his harm.

After years of litigation, a jury returned a $14 million verdict and attributed over 40 percent of the fault to Union Carbide, and the rest to other defendants in the case. The appellate court, however, undid the jury’s verdict.

The main issue in this case was which test the trial court should have used:  the consumer expectations test or the risk utility test. The former test simply states that a product has a design defect if it does not function as a reasonable consumer might expect. The risk utility test focuses on whether the utility of a product outweighs the risk of using that product. Most think that the consumer expectations test benefits the consumer, whereas the risk utility test favors the manufacturer. This is because a defendant who makes a dangerous product could still potentially escape liability if the product’s utility is deemed to outweigh the danger under the risk utility test.

The Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed its adherence to the consumer expectations test in design defect cases. This is an important decision because it allows consumers to pursue product liability cases without any additional burdens. Put another way, the decision ensures that product manufacturers must be accountable if they design unreasonably dangerous products.

Productliability cases are extremely complex. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami product liability attorneys are well versed in this area of law and can put our knowledge to use in your case. We will thoroughly examine the facts of your case to determine the strength of your claim. We will walk you through each and every step of the legal journey. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. To learn more, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.

More Blog Posts:

Florida’s Recreational Use Statute,  South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 28, 2015

Florida’s Fifth District Rules for Plaintiff in Car Accident Case, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 28, 2015

Pilot Error Accidents in Florida,  South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 28, 2015

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