Product Safety and Product Liability - An Overview

Article

Wargo, John J.   (1987, ASQC)   John J. Wargo & Associates, Glastonbury, CT

41st Annual Quality Congress, May 1987, Minneapolis, MN    Vol. 41    No. 0
QICID: 3279    May 1987    pp. 77-83
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Article Abstract

Product safety and product liability command national headlines almost daily giving us the dubious honor of being the most litigious society in the world. Each of us is affected in some way by the litigation, the skyrocketing insurance premiums, unequal court decisions and by numerous proposals for legislative change. This paper briefly describes past activities leading to the present situation in the United States and the future direction toward which the current activities seem to be heading. The pendulum seems to be swinging toward a new course and hopefully result will be acceptable to us all.Our courts are overburdened, some companies have declared bankruptcy or closed their doors, insurance premium increases appear manufactured, tort law interpretations change constantly, the deep pockets theory charges manufacturers even though they are not at fault, lawyers find a bonanza with contingency fees and segments of the public play the liability "game" as if it were a million dollar lottery. The product liability situation is very complex today and difficult to manage in the courts. Changes are needed and each of us should be acquainted with past history as well as present conflicts in order to understand and influence future changes.Waves of proposed reforms are sweeping our country, many of them in direct conflict with each other. High on the list to help industry were bills by Senator Robert Kastern, Jr. (R., Wis.) and Senator John Danforth (R., MO), however, correspondence in October from both Senators indicated the bills were not passed but they are confident because of progress made in 1986 they will ultimately be successful. There are many pros and cons to these bills depending on the opposing faction's special interests. A very vocal opposition has been successful in delaying the legislative proposals.

Keywords

Product safety,Liability prevention


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