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Product Liability — Adequacy of Warnings

The Indiana Product Liability Act creates threshold requirements for injured consumers in order to bring an action against a manufacturer for the harm caused by its product. One of these requirements is that the product was in a “defective condition” that caused danger to the user or consumer. There are three theories to prove a product is defective:

  • Defect in design
  • Lack of adequate or appropriate warnings
  • Defect as a result of malfunction or impurity in the manufacturing process

Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals clarified what lack of adequate or appropriate warnings means. The plaintiffs were the parents of children who developed a variety of ailments after exposure in their home to Dursban TC. Dursban TC is a pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical Company and Dow Agrisciences. Dow moved for summary judgment, meaning that the complaint should be dismissed as a matter of law without a trial. The Indiana Court of Appeals granted summary judgment on the basis that there was no lack of adequate or appropriate warnings because Dow complied with the labeling and warnings complied with the requirements of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The Court of Appeals in Gresser v. Dow Chemical used the statutory presumption within the language of the Indiana Product Liability Act, which holds that compliance with a state and/or federal regulatory scheme will create a rebuttable presumption that the product was not defective and, therefore, the injured consumer or user cannot seek damages in the Indiana courts.

Products liability law is complex, especially in Indiana where there are strict statutory requirements in order to bring a successful claim. If you or a loved one has been injured by a product, be sure to seek counsel immediately from experienced product liability attorneys who know Indiana law.