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MINNESOTA PRODUCTS LIABILITY LAW-The Basics – Schmidt-Salita Law Team

★★★★★ 5 Star Rated
Injury, Workers Comp, & Wrongful Death Lawyers

(952) 473-4530

MINNESOTA PRODUCTS LIABILITY LAW-The Basics

The Schmidt Law Firm has 30 years experience in over 6,000 successful case of bringing justice to the victims of personal injury and wrongful death. This experience and success record extends to many cases of injury and death due to defective products where the claim was pursued using Minnesota product liability law.

Minnesota product liability law allows the victims of personal injury and the families of the victims of wrongful death to seek compensation where a defective product was the cause. Minnesota product liability law is summarized in the jury instruction that is given in product liability trials. The authors comments state this:

The Minnesota Supreme Court adopted strict liability in tort in McCormack v. Hankscraft Co., 278 Minn. 322, 339-40, 154 N.W.2d 488, 500-501 (1967). The court indicated its intent to adopt the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A (1965) as the basic strict liability formulation to be used in Minnesota. See, e.g., Olson v. Village of Babbitt, 291 Minn. 105, 110, 189 N.W.2d 701, 705 (1971); Lee v. Crookston, Coca-Co Bottling Co., 290 Minn. 321, 328-329, 188 N.W.2d 426, 432 (1971); Farr v. Armstrong Rubber Co., 288 Minn. 83, 89, 179 N.W.2d 64, 68 (1970). In 1984, however, the court reformulated the standard for design defect and failure to warn cases by applying negligence principles to those claims. See Bilotta v. Kelley Co., 346 N.W.2d 616, 622 (Minn. 1984) (design defect must be evaluated according to a risk-utility standard); Germann v. F.L. Smithe Machine Co., 395 N.W.2d 922, 926, n. 4 (Minn. 1986) (negligence principles apply to strict liability failure to warn claims). However, in a case involving a manufacturing flaw, it is appropriate to submit both strict liability and negligence claims.
Elements of a Products Liability Claim. There are three basic elements in a products liability case. First, the defendant’s product must have been in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. Second, the defect must have existed when the product left the defendant’s control. Third, the defect must have been the proximate cause of the injury sustained. See Bilotta v. Kelley Co., 346 N.W.2d 616, 623, n. 3 (Minn. 1984); Aby v. St. Paul Union Stockyards, 373 N.W.2d 810, 812 (Minn. Ct. App. 1985); Smits v. E-Z Por Corp., 365 N.W.2d 352, 354 (Minn. Ct. App. 1985). These elements are common to strict liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranty claims, Worden v. Gangel¬hoff, 308 Minn. 252, 254-255, 241 N.W.2d 650, 651 (1976), although in design defect and failure to warn claims, the plaintiff should be entitled to assert only a single theory of recovery. Bilotta, 346 N.W.2d at 623; Hauenstein v. The Loctite Corp., 347 N.W.2d 272, 275 (Minn. 1984). Implied warranty of merchantability theory is also merged with strict liability and negligence in a single theory of recovery. Piotrowski v. Southworth Products Corp., 15 F.3d 748 (8th Cir. 1994) (citing Westbrock v. Marshalltown Mfg. Co., 473 N.W.2d 352, 356 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Gross v. Running, 403 N.W.2d 243, 245 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987), and noting that those cases cited Bilotta for the merger proposition, even though Bilotta did not specifically hold that implied warranty theory was merged with strict liability and negligence).

The Schmidt Law Firm, Minneapolis Accident Lawyers, has successfully handled products liability cases where the defective product caused car accidents, truck accidents, snowmobile accidents, farm accidents, construction site accidents, and industrial accidents. The Schmidt Law Firm serves its clients throughout the State of Minnesota, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Blaine, Eden Prairie, Shakopee, Burnsville, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Coon Rapids.

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