Product Liability Law in Florida

Free Case Evaluation

Get Started

Product liability is the area of law in which an injured person holds manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. Although the word “product” has broad connotations, product liability attorneys practice product liability as an area of law, which is traditionally limited to products in the form of tangible personal property.

There are three types of product liability we can encounter. They are as follows; manufacturing defect, design defect, a failure to warn (also known as marketing defects).

Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship.

Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless (and hence defective) no matter how carefully manufactured. This may be demonstrated either by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product, or that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits.
Failure-to-warn defects arise in products that carry inherent non-obvious dangers which could be avoided through adequate warnings to the user, and these dangers are present regardless of how well the product is manufactured and designed for its intended purpose.

Product liability lawsuits are often class actions. This is a kind of civil lawsuit against the maker of a product, which claims that a person or group of people were injured or damaged by a product that was defective or not suitable for the use it was advertised for.

There are many product liability cases going on right now as we speak. Some of these products may be ones that you are currently using in your homes, both inside and out. One in particular is the Napa Firepots, also commonly called FireLites™ and fire burners, which are outdoor glass or clay pots with gel fuel containers that can be scented with citronella, making them a popular addition to the outdoor areas of homes. Although marketed as “people safe” and “the cleanest and safest fuel you can buy,” the Napa Home and Garden gel is comprised of more than 90 percent ethyl alcohol, a volatile and highly flammable liquid with a vapor density less than that of propane. Other manufacturers of these products include Birdbrain, Inc. The Consumer Product and Safety Commission has issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of these products.

However, Motley Rice has filed two personal injury and products liability lawsuits, one in the Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Circuit and the other in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina against Napa Home and Garden, Inc., and multiple other defendants on behalf of injured parties relating from two separate incidents in South Carolina. The lawsuits allege the plaintiffs suffered severe burn injuries caused by Napa FireLites™ firepots and pourable eco-gel citronella fuel.

Rachael Smilowitz v. Napa Home & Garden Inc. et al., No. 11-CP-4202 (Ct. of Common Pleas, Ninth Jud. Cir.) was filed by two Charleston-area residents who, on May 21, 2011, who were enjoying an evening on their back porch when a firepot suddenly exploded and shot a directional flame, catching one on fire and injuring another as he tried to extinguish the flames. One of the plaintiffs suffered second and third-degree burns to her lower body.

Satterfield et al. v. Napa Home & Garden Inc., et al., No. 7:11-cv-01514-JMC (D.S.C.) was filed by two Florida residents who, on May 25, 2011, were visiting relatives in Spartanburg, S.C., and experienced a similar situation. Apparently, the plaintiffs were enjoying an evening on the back patio when a “torch-like” flame engulfed one individual. She remains in the intensive care unit of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 30% of her body. Her husband suffered serious burns after attempting to extinguish the fire.

As always, a product liability attorney can review your case about any consumer-related injuries caused by a dangerous product or drug, so feel free to contact us today if you think you have a case.

Herman & Wells, P.A. handles personal injury lawsuits for the injured and their families in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Florida.