Grappling With The Consumer Expectations Test

Law360, New York (January 3, 2012, 9:45 PM EST) -- Since it was adopted in California in 1978, courts have grappled with how to apply the consumer expectations test in product liability cases. Originally designed to ease the plaintiff's burden in proving a product defect, the test does away with expert testimony and simply asks whether a reasonable consumer would believe the product failed to perform as safely as expected.

The greatest limitation of the test has always been that most consumers do not have an understanding of the sometimes complicated design decisions that go into many products, and thus, likely do not have a basis to form safety expectations regarding...

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