The Elements for a Claim of Strict Product Liability

In Nevada, the elements for a claim strict product liability are:

  1. That the product was defective;
  2. That the defect existed when the product left the defendant’s possession;
  3. That the product was used in a manner which was reasonably foreseeable by the defendant; and
  4. That the defect was a cause of the damage or injury to the plaintiff.


Stated differently, the elements are:

  1. On [DATE], Plaintiff purchased an item described as [DESCRIBE] (the “Product”) from [SELLER’S NAME];
  2. Defendant [MANUFACTURER] manufactured the Product;
  3. Defendant [SELLER] sold the Product to Plaintiff;
  4. Defendant [MARKETING COMPANIES & CONSULTANTS] improperly labeled the Product;
  5. Defendant [NAME OF DEFENDANT] provided inadequate safety warnings, and/or provided incomplete instructions for the Product;
  6. The Product was defective as manufactured, transported, described, and sold;
  7. The Product defect existed when the Product left each Defendant’s possession;
  8. Plaintiff used the Product in a manner which was reasonably foreseeable by the Defendants;
  9. The Product defect was a [PROXIMATE] [LEGAL] cause of damage or injury to the Plaintiff;
  10. Plaintiff has suffered damages; and
  11. Plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs as damages.

Nevada recognizes the doctrine of strict tort liability for defective products.  Valentine v. Pioneer Chlor Alkali, 109 Nev. 1107, 864 P.2d 295, 297 (1993). By this system, the courts seek to place responsibility for injuries caused by defective products wherever it will most effectively reduce the hazards to life and health inherent in the marketing of defective products. Allison v.Merck and Co., Inc., 110 Nev. 762, 878 P.2d 948, 952 (1994).   Although manufacturers are not insurers of their products, where an injury is caused by a defective product, responsibility is placed upon the manufacturer and distributor of that product.

In order to bring a successful products liability suit in Nevada, a plaintiff must prove: (1) that the product had a defect which rendered it unreasonably dangerous; (2) the defect existed at the time the product left the manufacturer; and (3) the defect caused the plaintiff’s injury.  Fyssakis v. Knight Equip. Corp.,  108 Nev. 212, 826 P.2d 570, 571 (1992).  A manufacturer or distributor is of a product is strictly liable for injuries resulting from a defect in the product that was present when it left its hands.  Ginnis v. Mappes Hotel Corp., 86 Nev. 408, 413, 470 P.2d 135, 138 (1970).

Under Nevada law, a product that does not include a warning that adequately communicates the dangers that may result from its use or foreseeable misuse, the product is defective.  Fyssakis, 826 P.2d at 572. Further, evidence that the product lacked adequate safety features or that a safe alternative design was feasible at the time of manufacture will support a strict liability claim. On the other hand, a product which bears suitable and adequate warnings concerning the safe manner in which the product is to be used, and which is safe to use if the warning is followed, is not in defective condition.  Crown Controls Corp v. Corella, 98 Nev. 35, 37, 639 P.2d 555, 557 (1982).

Purely economic losses usually are not recoverable under tort theories of negligence and strict liability.  Nat’l Union Fire Ins.  v.  Pratt & Whitney,  107 Nev. 538, 815 P.2d 601 (1991).

See elements for other claims at the Nevada Law Library



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