Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Article in the ABA Litigation News -- Maryland Expands Product Liability for Unmanifested Defects, by Brian A. Zemil. Here's an excerpt:
Rejecting the majority rule adopted by other states, Maryland’s highest court has held that unmanifested product defect claims can be actionable even when the plaintiff fails to allege personal injury.
In Lloyd, the Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated a class action brought by plaintiffs who had sued auto manufacturers that sold cars allegedly containing defective seatbacks—even though the defects had yet to manifest themselves, let alone cause actual injury to the class members. Because the flaws could potentially cause death or serious injury, the court held that the cost of repairing the seatbacks was actionable in tort and contract and as a consumer protection claim.
The decision forms “part of a hotly contested nationwide dispute over whether a product that has a possibility of malfunctioning is defective such that it can support a consumer-type product liability class action claim for economic loss,” says Scott L. Nelson, Washington, DC, former Co-Chair of the Section of Litigation’s Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee.