Handling Difficult Issues in Products Liability Actions: Subsequent Remedial Measures, Similar Accidents, Recalls and Foreign DefendantsOctober 1, 2004
Products liability actions are not easy cases to prepare, nor are they easy cases to try. More often than not, such cases involve complex industrial or consumer products, monumental amounts of documents, intricate theories of liability and defense, and horrific injuries. Obviously, the defense attorney who successfully prevents "extraneous" issues from reaching the jury will be far ahead o the game. The purpose of this article is to apprise defense counsel of three potentially fatal areas of pretrial discovery and trial testimony in products liability actions -- evidence of subsequent remedial measures, evidence of other accidents, and evidence of product recalls -- and to provide suggestions regarding alternate ways to deal with such evidence. The final section of this article deals with some interesting issues that often arise when defense counsel represents a foreign product manufacturer or distributor.