Law:Title 4. Liability In Tort from Chapter 82. Products Liability (Texas)

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Contents

Chapter 82. Products Liability

Section  82.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Claimant" means a party seeking relief, including a plaintiff, counterclaimant, or cross-claimant.

(2)  "Products liability action" means any action against a manufacturer or seller for recovery of damages arising out of personal injury, death, or property damage allegedly caused by a defective product whether the action is based in strict tort liability, strict products liability, negligence, misrepresentation, breach of express or implied warranty, or any other theory or combination of theories.

(3)  "Seller" means a person who is engaged in the business of distributing or otherwise placing, for any commercial purpose, in the stream of commerce for use or consumption a product or any component part thereof.

(4)  "Manufacturer" means a person who is a designer, formulator, constructor, rebuilder, fabricator, producer, compounder, processor, or assembler of any product or any component part thereof and who places the product or any component part thereof in the stream of commerce.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 5, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  82.002.  Manufacturer's Duty To Indemnify.

(a) A manufacturer shall indemnify and hold harmless a seller against loss arising out of a products liability action, except for any loss caused by the seller's negligence, intentional misconduct, or other act or omission, such as negligently modifying or altering the product, for which the seller is independently liable.

(b)  For purposes of this section, "loss" includes court costs and other reasonable expenses, reasonable attorney fees, and any reasonable damages.

(c)  Damages awarded by the trier of fact shall, on final judgment, be deemed reasonable for purposes of this section.

(d)  For purposes of this section, a wholesale distributor or retail seller who completely or partially assembles a product in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions shall be considered a seller.

(e)  The duty to indemnify under this section:

(1)  applies without regard to the manner in which the action is concluded; and

(2)  is in addition to any duty to indemnify established by law, contract, or otherwise.

(f)  A seller eligible for indemnification under this section shall give reasonable notice to the manufacturer of a product claimed in a petition or complaint to be defective, unless the manufacturer has been served as a party or otherwise has actual notice of the action.

(g)  A seller is entitled to recover from the manufacturer court costs and other reasonable expenses, reasonable attorney fees, and any reasonable damages incurred by the seller to enforce the seller's right to indemnification under this section.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 5, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  82.003.  Liability Of Nonmanufacturing Sellers.

(a) A seller that did not manufacture a product is not liable for harm caused to the claimant by that product unless the claimant proves:

(1)  that the seller participated in the design of the product;

(2)  that the seller altered or modified the product and the claimant's harm resulted from that alteration or modification;

(3)  that the seller installed the product, or had the product installed, on another product and the claimant's harm resulted from the product's installation onto the assembled product;

(4)  that:

(A)  the seller exercised substantial control over the content of a warning or instruction that accompanied the product;

(B)  the warning or instruction was inadequate; and

(C)  the claimant's harm resulted from the inadequacy of the warning or instruction;

(5)  that:

(A)  the seller made an express factual representation about an aspect of the product;

(B)  the representation was incorrect;

(C)  the claimant relied on the representation in obtaining or using the product; and

(D)  if the aspect of the product had been as represented, the claimant would not have been harmed by the product or would not have suffered the same degree of harm;

(6)  that:

(A)  the seller actually knew of a defect to the product at the time the seller supplied the product; and

(B)  the claimant's harm resulted from the defect; or

(7)  that the manufacturer of the product is:

(A)  insolvent; or

(B)  not subject to the jurisdiction of the court.

(b)  This section does not apply to a manufacturer or seller whose liability in a products liability action is governed by Chapter 2301, Occupations Code. In the event of a conflict, Chapter 2301, Occupations Code, prevails over this section.

(c)  If after service on a nonresident manufacturer through the secretary of state in the manner prescribed by Subchapter C, Chapter 17, the manufacturer fails to answer or otherwise make an appearance in the time required by law, it is conclusively presumed for the purposes of Subsection (a)(7)(B) that the manufacturer is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court unless the seller is able to secure personal jurisdiction over the manufacturer in the action.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 5.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1351, Sec. 2(a), eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  82.004.  Inherently Unsafe Products.

(a) In a products liability action, a manufacturer or seller shall not be liable if:

(1)  the product is inherently unsafe and the product is known to be unsafe by the ordinary consumer who consumes the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community; and

(2)  the product is a common consumer product intended for personal consumption, such as:

(A) sugar, castor oil, alcohol, tobacco, and butter, as identified in Comment i to Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts; or

(B)  an oyster.

(b)  For purposes of this section, the term "products liability action" does not include an action based on manufacturing defect or breach of an express warranty.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 5, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1146, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  82.005.  Design Defects.

(a) In a products liability action in which a claimant alleges a design defect, the burden is on the claimant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1)  there was a safer alternative design; and

(2)  the defect was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death for which the claimant seeks recovery.

(b)  In this section, "safer alternative design" means a product design other than the one actually used that in reasonable probability:

(1)  would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the claimant's personal injury, property damage, or death without substantially impairing the product's utility; and

(2)  was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer or seller by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.

(c)  This section does not supersede or modify any statute, regulation, or other law of this state or of the United States that relates to liability for, or to relief in the form of, abatement of nuisance, civil penalties, cleanup costs, cost recovery, an injunction, or restitution that arises from contamination or pollution of the environment.

(d)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  a cause of action based on a toxic or environmental tort as defined by Sections 33.013(c)(2) and (3); or

(2)  a drug or device, as those terms are defined in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Section 321).

(e)  This section is not declarative, by implication or otherwise, of the common law with respect to any product and shall not be construed to restrict the courts of this state in developing the common law with respect to any product which is not subject to this section.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 5, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  82.006.  Firearms And Ammunition.

(a) In a products liability action brought against a manufacturer or seller of a firearm or ammunition that alleges a design defect in the firearm or ammunition, the burden is on the claimant to prove, in addition to any other elements that the claimant must prove, that:

(1)  the actual design of the firearm or ammunition was defective, causing the firearm or ammunition not to function in a manner reasonably expected by an ordinary consumer of firearms or ammunition; and

(2)  the defective design was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death.

(b)  The claimant may not prove the existence of the defective design by a comparison or weighing of the benefits of the firearm or ammunition against the risk of personal injury, property damage, or death posed by its potential to cause such injury, damage, or death when discharged.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 5, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  82.007.  Medicines.

(a) In a products liability action alleging that an injury was caused by a failure to provide adequate warnings or information with regard to a pharmaceutical product, there is a rebuttable presumption that the defendant or defendants, including a health care provider, manufacturer, distributor, and prescriber, are not liable with respect to the allegations involving failure to provide adequate warnings or information if:

(1)  the warnings or information that accompanied the product in its distribution were those approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for a product approved under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Section 301 et seq.), as amended, or Section 351, Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Section 262), as amended; or

(2)  the warnings provided were those stated in monographs developed by the United States Food and Drug Administration for pharmaceutical products that may be distributed without an approved new drug application.

(b)  The claimant may rebut the presumption in Subsection (a) as to each defendant by establishing that:

(1)  the defendant, before or after pre-market approval or licensing of the product, withheld from or misrepresented to the United States Food and Drug Administration required information that was material and relevant to the performance of the product and was causally related to the claimant's injury;

(2)  the pharmaceutical product was sold or prescribed in the United States by the defendant after the effective date of an order of the United States Food and Drug Administration to remove the product from the market or to withdraw its approval of the product;

(3)(A) the defendant recommended, promoted, or advertised the pharmaceutical product for an indication not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

(B)  the product was used as recommended, promoted, or advertised; and

(C)  the claimant's injury was causally related to the recommended, promoted, or advertised use of the product;

(4)(A) the defendant prescribed the pharmaceutical product for an indication not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

(B)  the product was used as prescribed; and

(C)  the claimant's injury was causally related to the prescribed use of the product; or

(5)  the defendant, before or after pre-market approval or licensing of the product, engaged in conduct that would constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 201 and that conduct caused the warnings or instructions approved for the product by the United States Food and Drug Administration to be inadequate.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 5.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  82.008.  Compliance With Government Standards.

(a) In a products liability action brought against a product manufacturer or seller, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product manufacturer or seller is not liable for any injury to a claimant caused by some aspect of the formulation, labeling, or design of a product if the product manufacturer or seller establishes that the product's formula, labeling, or design complied with mandatory safety standards or regulations adopted and promulgated by the federal government, or an agency of the federal government, that were applicable to the product at the time of manufacture and that governed the product risk that allegedly caused harm.

(b)  The claimant may rebut the presumption in Subsection (a) by establishing that:

(1)  the mandatory federal safety standards or regulations applicable to the product were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage; or

(2)  the manufacturer, before or after marketing the product, withheld or misrepresented information or material relevant to the federal government's or agency's determination of adequacy of the safety standards or regulations at issue in the action.

(c)  In a products liability action brought against a product manufacturer or seller, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product manufacturer or seller is not liable for any injury to a claimant allegedly caused by some aspect of the formulation, labeling, or design of a product if the product manufacturer or seller establishes that the product was subject to pre-market licensing or approval by the federal government, or an agency of the federal government, that the manufacturer complied with all of the government's or agency's procedures and requirements with respect to pre-market licensing or approval, and that after full consideration of the product's risks and benefits the product was approved or licensed for sale by the government or agency. The claimant may rebut this presumption by establishing that:

(1)  the standards or procedures used in the particular pre-market approval or licensing process were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage; or

(2)  the manufacturer, before or after pre-market approval or licensing of the product, withheld from or misrepresented to the government or agency information that was material and relevant to the performance of the product and was causally related to the claimant's injury.

(d)  This section does not extend to manufacturing flaws or defects even though the product manufacturer has complied with all quality control and manufacturing practices mandated by the federal government or an agency of the federal government.

(e)  This section does not extend to products covered by Section 82.007.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 5.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


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