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Defeating a Products Claim Based on the Absence of a Safer Alternative Design

Wednesday, December 08, 2021
12:00 PM GMT - 6:00 Central Standard Time (US & Mexico) - 01:00 PM GMT - 6:00 Central Standard Time (US & Mexico)

Please join us for a complimentary Webinar sponsored by the Drug, Device and Biotechnology Committee, Product Liability Committee, and Trial Techniques and Tactics Committee on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 for (1) hour beginning at: 10:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM MST / 12:00 PM CST / 1:00 PM EST


Defeating a Products Claim Based on the Absence of a Safer Alternative Design

“Safer alternative design” is either an element a plaintiff must prove to establish a claim in products liability or an affirmative defense in nearly every state. The presentation will examine the various ways this requirement appears in the law of different jurisdictions and the methods available to strategically advance the defense. The panel of trial lawyers and an expert witness will address the plaintiffs' bar's increased reliance upon the reptile theory to gloss over this element of proof and the steps defense counsel can take to thwart such efforts. This presentation will discuss what constitutes a safer alternative design and provide examples of effective attacks on proposed alternative designs suggested in litigation.

Key Takeaways:

  1. New product liability issue.
  2. Anticipating plaintiffs' counsel strategy.
  3. Comparative state law approach.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will understand the different mechanisms by which various jurisdictions have established the feasible design alternative as a defense to strict product liability claims.
  • Attendees will recognize the distinction between any alternative design and that which is a true feasible alternative.
  • Attendees will develop strategies for raising the defense.

Scott J. Wilkov
Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio USA
Edward Blakemore
, Assistant General Counsel, Rockwell Automation, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio USA
Helen Kathryn Downs, Law in Motion: Downs, LLC, Birmingham, Alabama USA
Martin J. Healy, Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C., Morristown, New Jersey USA

For information on any upcoming Webinar, please visit the Webinar page on the IADC website.