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Calif.'s Sophisticated User Doctrine

Law360 (April 21, 2009, 12:00 AM EDT) -- One year ago, California joined the growing list of jurisdictions recognizing the sophisticated user exception to a manufacturer's duty to warn users of potential dangers of its products.

The plaintiff in Johnson v. American Standard Inc.[1] was a trained heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician, claiming to have developed pulmonary fibrosis due to defendant's failure to warn him that welding refrigerant lines containing the refrigerant R-22 could create phosgene gas, inhalation of which can cause potentially fatal lung disease.

In addition to his several years...
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