Finding Fault with Ault - Why the Exclusion of Subsequent Design Change Evidence in Product Liability Cases Makes Sense, Even in California


Whether subsequent design change evidence is admissible in a product liability case depends on where the case is venued. The Federal Rules of Evidence and many states courts exclude such evidence as irrelevant and against public policy. Some states, including California, still allow this evidence to be admitted. In an article recently published in the peer-reviewed Defense Counsel Journal, a publication of the International Association of Defense Counsel ("IADC"), Craig Livingston and John Hentschel survey the authorities addressing the issue and argue that the Federal Rule is better reasoned, is in keeping with the public policy goals of strict product liability actions, and that the California Supreme Court case which first authorized the admission of this evidence, Ault v. International Harvester, Inc., is outdated. The article also provides guidance and strategies for attorneys defending product liability cased on how best to address these issues when they arise. The article is entitled, “Finding Fault with Ault: Why the Exclusion of Subsequent Design Change Evidence in Product Liability Cases Makes Sense, Even in California.”

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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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