Florida Supreme Court

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October 29, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court held that although a jury could be instructed on the learned-intermediary doctrine, the defendant in this case (a supplier) had failed to submit proposed jury instructions that accurately described the defense, so the trial court’s instructions were not “so misleading as to require a reversal.” In addition, the court rejected the use of the Third Restatement of Tort’s “defective design” test for claims of strict product liability and affirmed adherence to the Second Restatement and its “consumer expectations” test.

U.S. Chamber urges Florida Supreme Court to reject plaintiff’s proposed aggressive expansion of liability for manufacturers

October 25, 2013

In its coalition brief, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined other business groups to urge the Florida Supreme Court to reject the plaintiff's claim that manufacturers and suppliers may be sued unless they provide warnings directly to end users - even in situations where the manufacturer has no direct relationship with the end-user.

The Chamber’s brief warned that if the Florida Supreme Court were to adopt the plaintiff's radical theory, opportunistic plaintiffs would no doubt embrace the ruling to erode other bedrock, well-established product liability doctrines, such as the “learned intermediary” doctrine - which provides that doctors are best situated to advise their patients about prescription drugs. The theory could also be twisted by plaintiffs to erode the “sophisticated purchaser” doctrine - which provides that a supplier need not provide a warning directly to an end-user if an intermediate purchaser of the component or raw material is already aware, by virtue of its sophistication and experience, of the hazards of the raw material. Each of these doctrines, though distinct, is rooted in the common-sense principle that the duty to warn of a product's risks should rest with the party in the “best position” to provide an effective warning.

Frank Cruz-Alvarez of Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP represented the U.S. Chamber as co-counsel to the National Chamber Litigation Center, Inc.

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