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31 Tort & Ins. L.J. 879 (1995-1996)
Products Liability Law Revisited: A Realistic Perspective

handle is hein.journals/ttip31 and id is 891 raw text is: PRODUCTS LIABILITY LAW REVISITED:
A REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE
Marc S. Moller and Paul Indig
I. OVERVIEW OF THE CURRENT PRODUCTS LIABILITY LANDSCAPE
Products liability is an area of the law that most lay people seem instinctively to
understand. Products, especially consumer goods, are all around us. We use them
and we take it for granted that they should work well and be designed properly.
If a product fails and causes injury, the failure is considered abnormal and the
responsibility of the manufacturer or seller. Indeed, certain well-known products
liability cases have become part of the American popular consciousness: poorly
designed Ford Pintos exploding on impact, highly flammable children's pajamas
igniting, and more recently, too hot McDonald's coffee causing third-degree burns
when spilled. Several years ago a Saturday Night Live skit, mimicking a line of
products liability case law, had a family feverishly emptying bottle after bottle of
Coca-Cola in a frantic attempt to find a mouse inside of one and strike it rich.'
In fact, products liability cases are among the hardest and costliest suits to initiate
and win. Notwithstanding popular misconceptions, it is axiomatic that just because
one is hurt by a product, it does not necessarily follow that the manufacturer or
seller is legally responsible for the injury. Now, more than ever before, it is essential
for the practitioner evaluating whether to embark upon a products liability case
to be especially cognizant of the challenges and pitfalls. This is particularly so when
considering a design defect case. Only a realistic approach at the outset will save
the products liability practitioner costly frustration later on, create reasonable client
expectations, and increase the client's chances for success.
Generally, to succeed in a products liability case, plaintiff has the considerable
1. See, e.g., Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Misenheimer, 261 S.W.2d 775 (Ark. 1953); Shoshone
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Dolinski, 420 P.2d 855 (Nev. 1966).
Marc S. Moller is a senior partner in the law firm of Kreindler & Kreindler in New York
City, and represents plaintiffs in aviation and products liability actions. Paul Indig is a litigation
associate with Kreindler & Kreindler.

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