New Jersey Retailers, as well as manufacturers, can be held responsible for injuries that have occurred while using a dangerous product. The New Jersey courts recently heard a case where it was alleged that a lead-based battery exploded in the hands of a user. The injured party felt that the heat sealed packaging of the battery was inappropriate and that the retailer knew of problems with this sort of packaging.
With changes in technology, more products will be marketed to consumers that may require special handling. As so many products are new to the market, consumers may not be aware of the potential dangers involved in the use of such products. Consumers thus will need to be educated concerning such product dangers.
One of the problems in the sale of retail goods is that sellers take in profits from products while maintaining that they owe no duty to the individuals buying such items. Perhaps this particular lawsuit will at least motivate such retailers to take greater steps to educate the public as to the dangers of specific products. Without sellers of merchandise being held liable, retailers may continue to market products that they know to be unsafe without any legal consequences.
This case will have ramifications in New Jersey product liability cases in that retailers can now be held accountable for failing to warn consumers of potential dangers in the use of certain products. This lawsuit will also force retailers to become familiar with the products that they sell and not simply rely upon the manufacturer to provide such information to consumers.
Source: TireBusiness.com, “N.J. federal court reaffirms retailers’ liability for defective products,” Nov. 16, 2011