Issue: In Massachusetts, what is the plaintiff’s burden in a design defect case?
Area of Law:
Personal Injury & Negligence
Design defect case; Burden; Failure to exercise reasonable care
630 N.E.2d 291; 384 N.E.2d 1188
In a design-defect case,”[t]he plaintiff has the burden . . . to show that the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care to eliminate avoidable or unforeseeable dangers to the user of the product. Morrell v. Precise Eng’g, Inc., 36 Mass. App. Ct. 935, 936, 630 N.E.2d 291, 293 (1994) (citing Uloth v. City Tank Corp., 376 Mass. 974, 880-81, 384 N.E.2d 1188 (1978)). There is no duty, however, to design a product that is risk-free or risk-proof; the test for whether a “product is defective is one of reasonableness rather than one of perfection.” Id. at 936, 630 N.E.2d at 293.
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