Friable Thoughts

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sophisticated User Defense Applies to Product Liability Claims in California

The California Supreme Court put a possible crimp into the plaintiff's bar with the JOHNSON v. AM. STANDARD, INC., last week, holding that a sophisticated user defense applies to product liability actions. While Johnson is not an asbestos case, the potential application could remove the lowest hanging fruit in asbestos cases. If, for example, insulators are sophisticated users of insulation, then they would have a hard time recovering against an insulation manufacturer or supplier.

Of course, the real test is how lower courts in California will interpret and apply Johnson.
Given that plaintiff's lawyers tend to file cases in venues they find favorable, the lower courts will probably interpret Johnson narrowly until someone files an appeal.


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