Product Liability

Revised and Approved Winter Meeting 1997, Updated and Approved January 2012
, Reaffirmed August 2017

Issue: Sellers and manufacturers of all types of products are vulnerable to products liability concerns. Businesses and manufacturers face a legal system that imposes strict liability and potentially disproportionately large awards to plaintiffs and presents a patchwork of legal doctrines. As a result, manufacturers sometimes find it difficult to do business in multiple jurisdictions, to innovate, and to invest in research and development. Some businesses are even dissuaded from starting operations because of the potentially large legal exposure of the present system.

PMI Position: Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) supports balanced products liability reform that places limits on awards for both small and large businesses and that makes punitive damages proportionate to economic damages. PMI also supports other reforms including a statute of repose that would protect manufacturers from liability for products that have proven their overall safety through considerable years of use, holding persons who misuse or alter products accountable for their actions, and voluntary, non-binding alternative dispute resolution processes that would help clear court dockets and dramatically reduce expenses.