ELEMENTS OF A DESIGN CLAIM UNDER THE LOUISIANA PRODUCTS LIABILITY ACT

I. claimant sustains damages caused by a characteristic of a product
AND
II. damages arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product

–use or handling of a product that the product’s manufacturer should reasonably expect of an ordinary person in the same or similar circumstances

AND
III. damage causing characteristic of the product is unreasonably dangerous
a. characteristic existed at the time the product left the control of its manufacturer
OR
b. characteristic resulted from a reasonably anticipated alteration or modification of the product

–a change in a product that the product’s manufacturer should reasonably expect to be made by an ordinary person in the same or similar circumstances, and also means a change arising from ordinary wear and tear, but not because the product does not receive reasonable care and maintenance

AND
IV. when the product left the manufacturer’s control (i) there existed an alternative design for the product that was capable of preventing the claimant’s damage
AND
(ii) the likelihood that the product’s design would cause the claimant’s damage and the gravity of that damage outweighed the burden on the manufacturer of adopting such alternative design and the adverse effect, if any, of such alternative design on the utility of the product
BUT an adequate warning about a product shall be considered in evaluating the likelihood of damage when the manufacturer has used reasonable care to provide the adequate warning to users and handlers of the product

–a warning or instruction that would lead an ordinary reasonable user or handler of a product to contemplate the danger in using or handling the product and either to decline to use or handle the product or, if possible, to use or handle the product in such a manner as to avoid the damage for which the claim is made

UNLESS the manufacturer proves that at the time the product left his control
a. he did not know and, in light of then-existing reasonably available scientific and technological knowledge, could not have known of the design characteristic that caused the damage or the danger of such characteristic
OR

b. he did not know and, in light of then-existing reasonably available scientific and technological knowledge, could not have known of the alternative design identified by the claimant
OR
c. the alternative design identified by the claimant was not feasible, in light of then-existing reasonably available scientific and technological knowledge or then-existing economic practicality

Contact Information