The Trend Toward Using The Risk-Utility Test

Law360 (November 9, 2010, 1:02 PM EST) -- In the past three months, courts around the country have been grappling with whether to apply the risk-utility test or the consumer expectation test to determine whether a product is unreasonably dangerous in design defect cases.

In August, the Supreme Court of South Carolina and the California Court of Appeals reached opposite conclusions, the former applying the risk-utility test in a rollover case involving an allegedly defective seatbelt sleeve and the latter applying the consumer expectations test to overturn a defense verdict in an asbestos case alleging defective design. See Branham v. Ford Motor Co., — S.E.2d — (S.C. Aug. 16,...

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