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After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, the committee appointed by the court to prepare jury instructions issued “suggested standard products liability instructions” (published by the PBI) in an effort to provide guidance to the bench and bar. These instructions have been questioned by the Pennsylvania Defense Institute (PDI), which in 201, issued countervailing instructions. Because the Supreme Court only rules on the propriety of each jury instruction on a case-by-case basis, our courts and trial advocates are left to their own devices to postulate which of these instructions represent the most accurate account of the law that juries must follow in deciding products liability cases. To assist the legal community in reconciling these instructions, and to help avoid or minimize a cascade of appellate work, this comparative review has been undertaken.

Products Liability Duty of Care Statement:

A seller, by marketing his product for use and consumption, has undertaken and assumed a special responsibility toward any member of the consuming public who may be injured by it; that public has a right to and does expect, in the case of products which it needs and for which it is forced to rely upon the seller, that reputable sellers will stand behind their goods; that public policy demands that the burden of accidental injuries caused by products intended for consumption be placed upon those who market them, and be treated as a cost of production against which liability insurance can be obtained; and that consumer of such products is entitled to the maximum of protection at the hands of someone, and proper persons to afford it are those who market the products. Stated affirmatively, a person or entity engaged in the business of selling a product has a duty to make and/or market the product—which is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold—free from a defective condition.

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