Products liability plaintiff appealed from the posttrial orders and the judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) entered in the Superior Court of San Diego County, California, in a manufacturing defect action against defendant healthcare corporation.
OVERVIEW: In a products liability action, the appellate court discussed the two-pronged test for a strict liability manufacturing defect as applied to the production of latex gloves. The action was filed by a woman who used latex gloves at work containing substances that were alleged to cause serious latex allergies. The gloves were manufactured by a healthcare corporation. The jury found a manufacturing defect had been proven and awarded compensatory damages. However, the trial court granted JNOV. On review, the appellate court agreed.
The woman failed to prove a defect under the Barker test.
A defective product was one that differed from the manufacturer's intended result or from other ostensibly identical units of the same product line. The various gloves were manufactured precisely as intended and there were no materially significant differences among identical units from the same product line.
-There are three types of product defects.
-First, there may be a flaw in the manufacturing process, resulting in a product that differs from the manufacturer's intended result.
-Second, there are products which are perfectly manufactured but are unsafe because of the absence of a safety device, i.e., design defect.
-A product is defectively designed if it failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used as intended or reasonably foreseeable, or if, on balance, the risk of danger inherent in the challenged design outweighs the benefits of the design.
-The third type of defect is a product that is dangerous because it lacks adequate warnings or instructions.
OUTCOME: The judgment was affirmed.
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