News

Court ruling points to need for retailers to be vigilant about defective goods

BY Thomas C Regan

In a case involving a car battery that exploded in a consumer’s hands, a federal court in New Jersey has reaffirmed the longstanding notion that retailers can be found strictly liable when they sell defective products. The Nov. 2 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan potentially places a heavy burden on home improvement chains and other retailers considered “experts” in their industries.

The implications of this ruling could be far-reaching. For example, it puts the onus on retailers to be thoroughly familiar with the products they sell and the packaging in which those products are delivered. Further, it is likely this opinion will be cited in other product liability actions, including failure-to-warn cases in which plaintiffs sue retailers because they were not told about product defects.  It is imperative that retailers deal with these issues proactively in order to protect their consumers and themselves from liability.

In the case (DeGennaro v. Rally Manufacturing, 09-cv-443), the plaintiff claimed injury after a lead-acid battery he had just bought at a New Jersey Pep Boys location exploded in his hand and against his body. He sued both the manufacturer and the retailer. Based upon the evidence, the judge ruled that Pep Boys’ management “knew or should have known” that the battery had the propensity to explode because of the heat-sealed packaging.  Pep Boys was therefore not allowed to take advantage of certain safe harbor provisions that can protect sellers from product liability.

The plaintiff’s counsel successfully argued that the use of heat-sealed packaging was inappropriate because it failed to properly ventilate the batteries. Pep Boys filed a motion for summary judgment on the product liability claims, seeking to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the New Jersey Products Liability Act, but the court wouldn’t hear of it.

The safe harbor provisions only protect product sellers under certain circumstances. They have to be able to identify a manufacturer against whom relief may be obtained, and they cannot have created the defect in the product in the first place. If they knew or should have known of the product defect, they cannot seek safe harbor. Likewise, they cannot have controlled the product’s design, manufacture, packaging or labeling.

In order to reduce their risk of being found liable in such cases, home improvement retailers should redouble their efforts to become thoroughly aware of any defects associated with the products they sell. But this is only the first step — they should also work with their legal counsel to determine the appropriate course of action once those defects or potential defects are uncovered. When a conversation about potential defects in products being sold occurs, for instance, it is essential that the retailer ‘close the loop’ on such discussions. This might include discussing the issue with outside counsel familiar with counseling clients on product liability issues. 

In DeGennaro, there was some evidence that Pep Boys knew of the propensity for explosion of the lead-acid batteries in question and yet continued to sell them anyway. The message for retailers is clear — you are responsible for the products leaving your store, and it is therefore your legal responsibility to make sure they are safe. 

Thomas C. Regan is a Newark, N.J.-based shareholder in national law firm LeClairRyan. Regan focuses his practice on products liability defense and counseling companies on product liability issues outside of a litigation context. He was not involved in the Pep Boys case.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant:
News

Industry Dashboard for Jan. 3, 2012

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer Confidence made a surge in December, pushing the needle from an index reading of 55.2 to 64.5. Total housing starts also surged, while single-family starts increased slightly. 

 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

j.iqbal says:
Jan-16-2013 06:21 am

I really enjoyed this site.
I really enjoyed this site. This is such a Great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable.paper bags Sydney

B.Content says:
Oct-22-2012 04:29 am

If you are planning for a
If you are planning for a kitchen makeover in Australia, there are a number of points to consider. Have you listed all the accessories you want added to the kitchen? Regarding the budget, would it give you the results you are looking for. Kitchen Renovations in sydneys

B.Content says:
Oct-20-2012 10:55 am

When it comes to wear and
When it comes to wear and tear at home, kitchens and bathrooms bear the most of the brunt. This, coupled by the fact that they are the face of any home, makes kitchen remodelling a vital aspect of the maintenance of a house. When you come to kitchen renovations Sydney and convey your expectations, we deliver exactly that. Kitchen Renovations in sydneys

J.JasonWrightccj says:
May-23-2012 04:46 am

I was making assignment and
I was making assignment and was in middle while i read this blog. So this blog fulfill my assignment. zinc picolinate

J.JasonWrightccj says:
May-23-2012 04:46 am

I was making assignment and
I was making assignment and was in middle while i read this blog. So this blog fulfill my assignment. zinc picolinate

A.Hasan says:
May-18-2012 03:04 pm

It is a great graphical
It is a great graphical presentation from this-home-channel-news. liberal education

a.lesnik says:
May-16-2012 09:20 am

I really got into this
I really got into this article. I found it to be interesting and loaded with unique points of interest. I like to read material that makes me think. Thank you for writing this great content. more info

A.Hasan says:
May-13-2012 06:03 pm

This looks absolutely
This looks absolutely perfect, Really its remarkable. You have some great content but are getting lots of none relevant comments here too. I really like in a site, very informative, no waste of time on reading. flatshare

D.Hann says:
May-07-2012 02:47 pm

To clean our area resultant
To clean our area resultant the less disease frees our society. We should have a look always to remove garbage form our locality or from our home. Junk removal companies also can take care for all types of removals like home appliances to office furniture including computer, printer, carpet and etc. junk removal Phoenix

B.Content says:
May-07-2012 05:11 am

We are producers of creative
We are producers of creative content for brands seeking to engage their audience in unique and memorable ways. We have released our first brandnewbag.tv branded entertainment video just few days back. branded entertainment

G.Rose says:
May-04-2012 06:21 am

The method home channel
The method home channel reports given in this site is astonishing, particularly the information and the technique they represents the statistics of lone family and lodging sales, the whole thing is so understandable out here.lawyers

c.63 says:
May-02-2012 12:05 pm

This is such a great resource
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!Paradise Valley Show Appeal

b.saha says:
Apr-28-2012 08:43 pm

I am going through this post
I am going through this post and thinking of it’s theme and trying to understand what is this post about. At last I can have found something from this post which feels pretty good. So I can not but am writing this comment to express my appreciation. Bodybuilding Supplements can be another topics to help us in it’s relevant matters. So everybody is welcome.

A.Hasan says:
Apr-27-2012 10:10 pm

Thank you for this blog.
Thank you for this blog. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something that’s eyes opening and important. You clearly know so much about the subject, you’ve covered so many bases. Great stuff from this part of the internet. Again, thank you for this blog.costa rica family vacations

b.saha says:
Apr-27-2012 11:42 am

Here is my comment to show my
Here is my comment to show my appreciation to this post. It is just that one I was looking for and I can say I have found it. I have always tried to understand this post about but here it is my only solution. droopy eyelid can now be mentioned so I inviting all to accept this. Thanks for sharing.

A.Hasan says:
Apr-23-2012 11:28 am

Oh my goodness! You're so
Oh my goodness! You're so right! I really don't think anyone's put it that way before! You must be an expert on this because you just made it so easy to understand, made me want to learn more about it!.flatshare London

b.saha says:
Apr-20-2012 07:10 am

I am going through this post
I am going through this post and thinking of it’s theme and trying to understand what is this post about. At last I can have found something from this post which feels pretty good. So I can not but am writing this comment to express my appreciation. room buddies can be another topics to help us in it’s relevant matters. So everybody is welcome.

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:26 am

I used to be more than happy
I used to be more than happy to seek out this internet-site.I wanted to thanks in your time for this glorious read!! I positively enjoying each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.640-816//642-832//350-001//640-461//350-018//350-030

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:23 am

I really like your way of
I really like your way of expressing the opinions and sharing the information. It is good to move as chance bring new things in life, paves the way for advancement, etc.GCIH//GPEN//GSEC//GSLC//HH0-110//HH0-120

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:22 am

Excellent post. I want to
Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work. Thanks for this very useful info you have provided us.E20-591//E20-593//E20-594//E22-275//F50-521//F50-531

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:22 am

I really like your way of
I really like your way of expressing the opinions and sharing the information. It is good to move as chance bring new things in life, paves the way for advancement, etc.EC0-350//EC1-350//E20-001//E20-018//E20-322//E20-324

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:21 am

Thanks for sharing this
Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your way of expressing the opinions and sharing the information. It is good to move as chance bring new things in life, paves the way for advancement, etc. But it is well known to everyone that moving to new location with bulk of goods is not an easy task to move or shift from one place to other place because I have experienced about that and I face the problem like that. There I go to village near to my city faced that problem there.156-915.71//352-001//642-731//646-206//650-179//PW0-100

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:20 am

Hi Great website thanks for
Hi Great website thanks for all the great infomation on your website it is very informative keep up the great work.FC0-GR1//HIT-001//JK0-017//JK0-018//LX0-101//LX0-102

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:20 am

Really its a great thought. I
Really its a great thought. I appreciate with you. and you are my favourite writer. I am a big fan of your creativity.3600//6202.1//6401.1//7003.1//BCP-221//1D0-510

x.xiu says:
Apr-18-2012 08:19 am

I used to be more than happy
I used to be more than happy to seek out this internet-site.I wanted to thanks in your time for this glorious read!! I positively enjoying each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.9A0-150//9L0-009//9L0-062//9L0-063//9L0-314//9L0-403

G.Rose says:
Apr-17-2012 06:56 am

The way home channel news
The way home channel news given in this site is amazing specially the fact and the way they represents the data of single family and Housing sales, everything is so clear out here. generic labs

x.xiao says:
Apr-16-2012 03:22 am

Countless people during money
Countless people during money niche hardly any longer own incentive to invest in fantastic commodities. Seeing that Seasonal is certainly heading and also sales and profits quota for laminate flooring this period swallows a great piece on their once a year sales and profits. For this reason, any providers specializing in fuel hose happen to be longing for future years utilizing favorable outlook.

Pawan01 says:
Apr-14-2012 11:20 am

This was actually what I was
This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us. resorts in Jaipur

G.Rose says:
Apr-12-2012 08:13 am

The graph given for monthly
The graph given for monthly sales for Home channels is really informative. We can see Consumer Confidence made a surge in December, pushing the needle from an index reading of 55.2 to 64.5. business for sale

A.Hasan says:
Apr-11-2012 02:11 am

This looks absolutely
This looks absolutely perfect, Really its remarkable. You have some great content but are getting lots of none relevant comments here too. I really like in a site, very informative, no waste of time on reading. rent a room

f.keskin says:
Apr-09-2012 01:25 pm

avon katalog ürünlerine avon
avon katalog ürünlerine avon katalog sosyal avon katalog paylaşım ağlarında oluşmuş gruplardan da ulaşmak mümkündür. Her yeni Avon katalog avon nisan kataloğu 2012 yeni fırsatlarla geldiğinden sayıları takip etmek kampanyaları kaçırmamak için faydalı olacaktır.

S.MIVPL says:
Mar-29-2012 06:05 pm

a career change and this post
a career change and this post helped to see another aspect of the industry. I appreciate your article.Mail Forwarding

H.SAGOR says:
Mar-27-2012 03:56 pm

I am going through this post
I am going through this post and thinking of it’s theme and trying to understand what is this post about. At last I can have found something from this post which feels pretty good. So I can not but am writing this comment to express my appreciation. flatmate can be another topics to help us in it’s relevant matters. So everybody is welcome.

l.420 says:
Mar-18-2012 07:37 pm

I am currently looking into a
I am currently looking into a career change and this post helped to see another aspect of the industry. I appreciate your article. Window Tint Atlanta

Q.420 says:
Mar-17-2012 06:59 am

Sometimes it is very hard to
Sometimes it is very hard to find good content on this topic. But your blog is my way to desired information, my problem is solved now. Thanks for posting something worth reading. Lower Cholesterol

h.420 says:
Mar-16-2012 04:27 pm

I am doing a report on this
I am doing a report on this subject. Your article is full of really useful information. I will make sure to come back to check out your posts for my next report. Cheers home improvement Maryland

h.420 says:
Mar-16-2012 04:13 pm

This topic has always been
This topic has always been one of my favorite subjects to read about. I have found your post to be very rousing and full of good information. I will check your other articles shortly. air heat exchanger

h.latha says:
Feb-17-2012 10:16 am

Just want to say I definitely
Just want to say I definitely see the content of this I tried to find today. This brief article is directly at the time. Thanks for your time to write and also to see him. This could be one of the best pieces I have had for a long time. Decorative Concrete Houston

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant:
News

GAM gives away brushes and BOGOs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

GAM, a division of Howard Berger Co., is giving away 2.5-in. PX Professional Angle Sash Brushes to all contractor attendees of the upcoming Paint & Decorating Contractors of America Show Feb. 19 to 22 in Las Vegas.

Every contractor in attendance will also receive a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) certificate, redeemable at participating paint stores. 

The event will be held at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. For more events in 2012, visit the Home Channel News Events Calendar here.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant: