• Does Mutual Pharmaceutical Co.,Inc. v. Bartlett Herald the Demise of the “Failure-To-Withdraw” Theory?
  • August 1, 2013 | Authors: Kerry C. O'Dell; Carl J. Schaerf
  • Law Firms: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Washington Office ; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - New York Office
  • In most states that use a “risk utility” test to determine whether a product is “not reasonably safe” (i.e. defective) as designed, an alternative design for the product is generally considered to be a critical element of the plaintiff’s proof. See, e.g., Restatement (Third) of Torts, § 2; Voss v. Black & Decker Mfg. Co., 59 N.Y.2d 102, 108, 7462 N.Y.S.2d 398, 402-03, 450 N.E.2d 204 (1983) (outlining New York’s risk utility approach). Where an alternative design cannot be claimed or argued, the argument is typically failure to warn. See, e.g., Liriano v. Hobart Corp., 92 N.Y.2d 232, 677 N.Y.S.2d 674, 700 N.E.2d 303 (N.Y. 1998) (manufacturers can be liable for failure-to-warn even if the substantial modification defense would preclude liability for design defect).