Manufacturers may be surprised to learn that a growing number of courts are awarding damages to plaintiffs who have ignored or failed to follow product warning labels and instructions. Courts have often barred plaintiffs from recovering in such cases by applying a presumption that product warnings will be read and heeded. This has provided a safe harbor from liability for manufacturers and sellers.

Now it appears courts are less concerned about whether a label has actually been read and followed and are focusing more on the adequacy of the label. Some courts are also applying a counter presumption that an “adequate” warning would have been read and heeded. Given this increased scrutiny of labels, it is more important than ever that manufacturers prepare appropriate warnings to protect against liability.