Changes in Products Liability Law: The PA Supreme Court Overturns 35 Years of Products Liability Law: The New Products Liability Cause of Action is a “Judicially Created Hybrid: ‘A Wart’”
By: Christopher S. Channel, Esq.
On November 19, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision that alters the strict products liability landscape in Pennsylvania. In Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., Chief Justice Castille authored a 137-page opinion in which Justices Bear, Todd and Stevens joined, while Justice Saylor filed a concurring and dissenting opinion in which Justice Eakin joined.
Realizing that, “it is now apparent that the first decade of applying the doctrine of strict liability in Pennsylvania offered a series of missed opportunities to develop a vibrant and coherent body of common law on the issue,” and that “decisional law has lapsed into an arguably unprincipled formulaic application of rhetoric,” the Supreme Court took the opportunity to explain the missteps and attempt to right the proverbial ship.
While the ramifications will be many, the most important points are that the Supreme Court overruled Azzarello, rejected the Restatement [Third] of Torts, and outlined a new paradigm moving forward.
To learn more about products liability law or if you have any questions related to the issues raised in this white paper, please contact Christopher Channel, a Leech Tishman partner and member of the firm’s Litigation and Environmental, Safety & Toxic Torts Practice Group.
Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.261.1600.