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Legal Memorandum: Jury Instructions of Foreseeable Misuse in AL

Issue: In Alabama, what is the standard definition of foreseeable misuse for use in Jury Instructions?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Foreseeable misuse; Standard definition; Products liability claim
Jurisdiction: Alabama
Cited Cases: 548 S.W.2d 344
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 01/01/2005

Whereas Alabama courts recognize misuse as a defense to a products liability claim (See,

e.g., Banner Welders, Inc. v. Knighton, 425 So.2d 441, 448 (Ala. 1982)), it is acknowledged at "'[m]isuse’ has not been specifically defined in Alabama."  Ala. Pattern Jury. Instr. (Civil) 32.19, Notes on Use (1990).  Furthermore "[t]he Alabama Supreme Court has not spoken on the issue of whether, with respect to product defectiveness, there is any difference between ‘intended use’ and ‘misuse’" Id.  Accordingly, there is not standard definition of foreseeable misuse.  If an issue of foreseeable-misuse definition arose in an Alabama court the reasoning would most likely be persuasive.  General Motors Corp. v. Hopkins, 548 S.W.2d 344 (Tex. 1977). 

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