Strict Liability in Pennsylvania

Recently, Pennsylvania’s highest appellate court solidified the law in Pennsylvania when it comes to strict product liability claims, i.e. defective products. Specifically, in the case of Tincher v. Omega-Flex, Inc., the PA Supreme Court held that the Restatement (Third) of Torts is rejected and the law of the land remains the Restatement (Second) of Torts.

What does this mean? It means greater protections for victims of defective products. Why? The Restatement (Third) of Torts was being presumptively applied by the federal courts which was making it harder for plaintiffs to win their defective product cases. Our PA Supreme Court rejected those hurdles and reaffirmed Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts.

Moreover, the determination of whether or not a defect in a product exists will be left to the jury as opposed to a judge. The jury will be charged with evaluating the defect pursuant to a risk / utility or cost / benefit approach. This is good news for innocent victims of defective products. Too often, judges would dismiss cases and act as the gatekeeper in deciding whether a product was defective or not. Thankfully, the PA Supreme Court recognized the inherent fault with that protocol and has returned the fact finding on defectiveness back to the jury, reaffirming that the focus for the jury should the product itself.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective product, please call Wilkes-Barre Personal Injury attorney Jonathan Comitz.