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Restating the Obvious in Maryland Products Liability Law: The Restatement (Third) of Torts - Products Liability and Failure to Warn Defenses

37 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2009  

Rebecca Korzec

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: Spring 2001

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Korzec, Rebecca, Restating the Obvious in Maryland Products Liability Law: The Restatement (Third) of Torts - Products Liability and Failure to Warn Defenses (Spring 2001). University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420791

Rebecca Korzec (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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