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Old 08-10-2018, 02:05 PM
JavaGeek JavaGeek is offline
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Default Products Liability - Question

Originally Posted by Online Course 2
Open and obvious danger defenseA manufacturer has no duty to warn or take other precautions regarding a common, open, and obvious propensity of the product. Hazards connected with knives, guns, and gasoline, for example, are well known, so warnings would be superfluous.
Colson is a blacksmith who makes knives and swords as a hobby. His business is small and is conducted on a non-advertised basis. He does not package his products but does provide a warranty against defects. If a parent whose child is injured by one of Colson's ever-sharp knives sues Colson in a products strict liability lawsuit, which one of the following statements would be true?
  1. Colson would be strictly liable only if the knife was unreasonably dangerous in normal use.
  2. Colson would be liable because of failure to warn that the knife was sharp and dangerous.
  3. Knives are generally known to be dangerous instrumentalities and Colson could not be held liable.
  4. Colson is not liable for harm to a third party.
Question ID = 5849902

1 - possibly incorrect due to Open and obvious danger defense
2 - knives are known to be sharp - that is the purpose.
3- as per Open and obvious danger defense
4 - overlap of #3 without explanation

I realize a "sword" is not the same as a knife, but guns are also listed. So why is the defense not applicable here?

Answer is #1
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:00 PM
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manaknight14 manaknight14 is offline
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I think the key word in answer #1 is "unreasonably" dangerous. It should be obvious that knives and swords have sharp edges that can cut a person during normal use. The implication of answer #1 implies that the blacksmith is only liable in cases where the danger exceeds what a reasonable user of a blade should anticipate. An example would be if shoddy craftsmanship caused a knife's handle to fall apart during use, resulting in the blade falling and injuring a child who was standing nearby. This is a danger that would supersede the "open and obvious" defense.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:39 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Do not overlook that this is a "strict liability" lawsuit. In this situation, it doesn't matter who is at fault; the starting point is that the product manufacturer will be held liable.

One of the exceptions is this "open & obvious danger" defense . . . but the key word to focus on for the current question is "common" . . .

So if there is some aspect in the use of the knife that would pose an "unreasonable" danger during "normal use" . . . then the condition of "common . . . propensity of the product" is not satisfied and this defense would not exempt Colson from strict liability.
I find your lack of faith disturbing

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Old 08-10-2018, 04:23 PM
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Marcie Marcie is offline
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I think the key to this question is the qualification of #1, the word "unreasonably", as manaknight said, and the absoluteness of statement #3. The manufacturer can assert the "open and obvious danger" defense but that doesn't guarantee it will be successful.
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