TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD OUR LEGAL SYSTEM HOLD COMPANIES RESPONSIBLE FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY THE PRODUCTS THEY MANUFACTURE? SHOULD THERE BE LIMITS ON THE AMOUNT AN INJURED CUSTOMER CAN RECOVER? SHOULD WE ALLOW PRODUCTS LIABILITY LAWSUITS AT ALL? SHOULD PUNITIVE DAMAGES BE AVAILABLE?
1-The case of Smith v. Carter & Burgess, Inc. (on page 475-6 of the text) involves a contract under which an employer promised to pay $15,000 to employees that remained employed after two years. The agreement provided that if an employee resigned or was terminated for cause prior to serving two years, he or she would forfeit the payment. The employees were terminated due to no wrong-doing on their part (project was canceled by employer). The court ruled that remaining for 2 years was a “condition precedent” necessary for them to receive the $15,000 payment. Given our class discussion and the materials in Chapter 18 on “conditions”….what do you think? Is this a fair result? If the court wanted to find in favor of the employees, how might it apply the law differently to the facts of this case?
2-To what extent should our legal system hold companies responsible for injuries caused by the products they manufacture? Should there be limits on the amount an injured customer can recover? Should we allow products liability lawsuits at all? Should punitive damages be available? Do products liability lawsuits harm our society by discouraging companies from developing or manufacturing new products that might help us live better lives? Perhaps drug companies will not spend millions on research and development of new Rx drugs if the potential risk of lawsuits is too high. On the other hand, is it fair to injured customers to limit or deny a remedy? Should General Motors be allowed to get away with manufacturing defective ignition switches that cause injury and death to innocent drivers/passengers? There are arguments on both sides of this issue. What is your opinion and why do you believe as you do? Remember….keep an open mind….perhaps you will encounter arguments that you have not previously considered.
3-what you learned of chapter 18, 19, and 20?