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Time Will Tell: The Changing Course of Pennsylvania’s Products Liability Jurisprudence

November 11, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has accepted for review the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s opinion in<em> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Sullivan-v.-Werner-Company.pdf">Sullivan v. Werner Company</a>,</em> 253 A. 3d 730 (2021), which affirmed the trial court’s exclusion of the defendant’s evidence that its product was designed in compliance with industry standards and OSHA regulations. The defendants will argue that Pennsylvania’s common law and evidentiary decisions excluding evidence that a product was designed in conformity with industry or government standards should negate products liability claims. Pennsylvania case law has long separated negligence and strict liability, which ultimately laid the framework to exclude government and strict liability evidence in product liability cases. The defendant's assertion will rely on <em>Tincher v. Omega Flex</em>, 104 A. 3d 328 (2014), which implied that evidence of a product’s compliance with industry or government standards was useful to deciding the defect question.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This could change how defendants present products liability cases and open the door to strategic options, by giving defendants the opportunity to narrow their theory of the case on industry trends and government standards compliance.</p>
Thanks to Sarah Polacek for her contribution to this post. Please contact <a href="mailto:Haquino@wcmlaw.com">Heather Aquino</a> with any questions.

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