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Fertilizer manufacturers can’t be held legally responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City even if it could be shown that they had known for years how to make a product that wouldn’t detonate when combined with fuel oil, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

Finding that the case failed to satisfy the most fundamental principles of products liability law, the unanimous three-judge panel upheld the dismissal of a suit brought in the District of New Jersey by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Manufacturers have no duty to prevent a criminal misuse of their products which is entirely foreign to the purpose for which the product was intended,” U.S. Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth wrote.

“The manufacturer of a raw material or component part that is not itself dangerous has no legal duty to prevent a buyer from incorporating the material or the part into another device that is or may be dangerous,” Roth wrote.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys Samuel J. Pace Jr. and Leslie M. Cyr of Dugan Brinkmann Maginnis & Pace argued that New Jersey courts have held that a manufacturer’s duty also includes protecting against “objectively foreseeable misuses and alterations” of a product.

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