Laws That Protect Corporations from Responsibility for Unsafe Products

Legal cases sometimes expose problems with the laws and lead to changes and improvements in our laws.  This segment of The Law and You focuses on the statute of ultimate repose, a law that protects corporations from full responsibility for harm caused by unsafe products they were involved in designing, manufacturing, and distributing.


JOEL: This is Joel Block for The Law and You with Eugene attorney Don Corson. Don, is there a law that protects corporations from their defective products?

DON: In the 70′s,corporations lobbied for the Statute of Ultimate Repose. This prevents any further legal action a certain time after a product was sold, even though it is still causing injuries.

Trucks with side saddle gas tanks are a good example. When hit, they sometimes have explosive fires, burns, and even deaths. Court cases resulted in the design being changed. Yet, many of these trucks are still around today and just as deadly. Under the Statute of Ultimate Repose, automakers were no longer responsible for trucks that should have been recalled. Our legislators had to be asked to exclude these trucks from the law. But most manufacturers are still not accountable for the harm caused by their older defective products.

JOEL: Thanks, Don. If you have a legal question, visit the website. The Law and You is a public service and does not replace the advice of an attorney.

The Corson & Johnson Law Firm, an Oregon personal injury trial law firm, produced and distributed The Law and You as a public service to help families and consumers answer questions about our legal system and how it works for them. The Law and You spots were aired on KKNU, KMGE, KEUG, and KODZ.  Please note that laws may have changed since a public service spot was aired.  If you have suggestions for legal questions or topics you would like addressed, please contact us.