Restating the Obvious in Maryland Products Liability Law: The Restatement (Third) of Torts - Products Liability and Failure to Warn Defenses
University of Baltimore - School of Law
University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2001
Products liability doctrine has struggled to balance the competing interests of product safety with those of product development and innovation. Manufacturer defenses are at the center of the dynamic and controversial debates in contemporary products liability law. An increasingly important inquiry centers on the availability of defenses in failure-to-warn cases. These defenses include the bulk supplier, learned intermediary, and sophisticated user defenses, and flow from the obvious danger rule -- the concept being that the duty to warn does not extend to known, patent or obvious dangers.
The related defenses of the bulk supplier, the sophisticated user and the learned intermediary form the topic of discussion in this Article because these doctrines cast the competing rights and duties of product manufacturers, health-care providers, and product users in sharp contrast. The issuance by the American Law Institute (ALI) of a Restatement of Products Liability offers an ideal opportunity to reexamine Maryland products liability doctrine.
This Article will examine these warning doctrines from several perspectives. Part II presents a historical overview of these issues. Part III examines Maryland law on the duty to warn. Part IV discusses the Restatement (Second)'s adoption of the sophisticated user defense. Finally, Part V evaluates the Restatement (Third)'s contribution to these failure-to-warn or informational defenses.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: products liability law, product safety, product development, bulk supplier defense, learned intermediary defense, sophisticated user defense, American Law Institute, Restatement of Products Liability, Maryland, duty to warn, failure to warn
JEL Classification: K13, K29, K39, L29, L60
Date posted: June 24, 2009