What Kinds of Product Defects Are There?
Products liability-personal injury cases typically involve one or more of the following defects:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- Warning defects
- Defective instructions
A manufacturing defect exists when a product’s construction or quality deviates from intended specifications or planned output in a way that is dangerous.
A design defect exists when a product’s design is unreasonably dangerous. If the design is defective, it does not matter whether the product was manufactured according to intended specifications.
A warning defect exists when the manufacturer fails to warn of a dangerous characteristic of the product.
Alza Corp. v. Thompson; 2010 WL 1254610 (Court of Appeals of Corpus Christi-Edinburgh, Texas) (affirming wrongful death/personal injury/products liability verdict arising from medical device-pain patch; device was recalled because of fold-over defects created during manufacturing process).
Torrington Company v. Stutzman, 46 S.W.3d 829 (Texas Supreme Court 2000) (affirming jury verdict in wrongful death-personal injury products liability lawsuit against Bell Helicopter-Textron arising from helicopter crash; court held that $29 million compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages was not excessive; ball bearing in helicopter was defective and unreasonably dangerous because it contained contaminants, debris, and defective grease when Textron sold it).
Wright v. General Motors Corp., 717 S.W.2d 153 (Houston, Texas First Court of Appeals 1986) (holding plaintiff could bring personal-injury products liability case against car manufacturer arising from car crash involving 1977 Cadillac Coupe DeVille that was caused by unintended acceleration or stuck accelerator pedal; there had been a product recall; jury could reasonably have found that gas pedal on the automobile was unreasonably dangerous and a producing cause of the accident).
Alm v. Aluminum Company of America; 717 S.W.2d 588 (Texas Supreme Court 1986) (holding that soft drink manufacturer had failed to properly warn of dangers associated with 7-Up bottle cap, that plaintiff suffered severe eye injury as a result, and that plaintiff might be entitled to punitive damages).