In Dolby v. Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 791 (Pa. Super. Feb. 28, 2017), a case that proceeded to trial solely on a strict-product-liability, failure-to-warn claim, the Superior Court recently affirmed an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas decision granting defendants' motion for compulsory nonsuit following plaintiff's case in chief. This unpublished decision provides useful guidance regarding the burden of proof in a failure-to-warn case and whether a plaintiff is entitled to a presumption that had an adequate warning been given, it would have been followed.
Part One, a general overview of Tincher, can be found HERE.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has, after decades of only tangentially addressing clear issues with the state products liability law in the Commonwealth, at last spoken. Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued Azzarello v. Black Brothers Co., 391 A.2d 1020 (Pa. 1979) thirty-five years ago, Pennsylvania has been one of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions for product liability claims. Azzarello adopted a unique version of the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A, which effectively took as hard-line of a strict liability stance as is conceivable under the Second Restatement.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling on January 21, 2014 in the case of Lance v. Wyeth, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 205 (Pa. 2014), where a split Court found that drug companies are not immune to product liability claims in Pennsylvania for defective drugs. In a 56 page opinion that was upheld in a 4-2 ruling, the Court decided Lance some three years after oral argument and added to the uncertain future landscape of products liability law in Pennsylvania.