A defendant cannot introduce evidence of industry standards in a strict liability claim. In addition, a defendant cannot introduce evidence that no other injuries similar to that of the plaintiff have occurred, unless that evidence has an adequate foundation. Castner v. Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation et al., Civil Action No. 02-5371, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Oct. 19, 2004. The plaintiff was injured after using a circular saw manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff moved, inter alia, to: 1) preclude the defendants from presenting evidence on industry standards; and 2) preclude the defendants from presenting evidence that the plaintiff’s injury was the first of its kind using the circular saw. The court held that the defendants could not present evidence on industry standards. Under Pennsylvania law, evidence of industry standards is not admissible in cases of strict liability because it improperly injects negligence concepts. The court did note, however, that if the plaintiff introduced evidence of industry standards on direct examination, the defendants would then be allowed to present evidence of industry standards on cross-examination.
The court further held that the defendants could not present evidence concerning the absence of other similar accidents as evidence that the saw in question was safe and to show that the alleged defect did not cause the accident because the defendants did not lay a proper foundation for the evidence they intended to present. The manufacturer was required to lay a proper foundation by establishing that others had used the same or a substantially similar product in the same or a substantially similar manner and had not been injured by the product; mere testimony that no lawsuits or claims had been made was insufficient foundation to prove that no other similar injuries had occurred.