In This Issue:
- Market Share Liability from an Economics Perspective
- The Safety of Chemical Products
- Chemical Leaks and Spills
- Excerpt from Introduction:
An important intersection between law and economics occurs in the consideration of industry-wide, collective, or market share theories of liability. These collective theories are used as alternatives to the traditional process where plaintiffs must prove causation to recover damages from defendants. Courts have used these liability theories to apportion damages among multiple defendants when the exact defendant causing the plaintiff’s injuries is unknown.
The first case to allow a plaintiff to collect damages based on market share liability without identifying a specific defendant was Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories, tried before the California Supreme Court. In Sindell, all the named defendants manufactured a drug—diethylstilbestrol (DES)— that used the same formula. It was not possible for either the plaintiff or the defendants to determine who manufactured the DES that caused the harm to the plaintiff. The Court decided that “[e]ach defendant will be held liable for the proportion of the judgment represented by its share of that market unless it demonstrates that it could not have made the product which caused plaintiff’s injuries.” The Court determined that “…each manufacturer’s liability would approximate its responsibility for the injuries caused by its own products.”
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Topics: Chemicals, Clean Water Act, Contaminated Properties, Liability, Oil Spills, Pro Rata Allocation Rule, Superfund, USEPA, Waste Disposal
Published In: Civil Remedies Updates, Environmental Updates, Products Liability Updates
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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