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In Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A. 2d 328 (Pa. 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court cast aside more than 35 years of precedent when it reformulated the standards determining the circumstances under which a product is considered defective within the context of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, Section 402 (A). From the court’s decision in Azzarello v. Black Bros. Co., 391 A. 2d 1020 (Pa. 1978) until Tincher, a product defect existed if the product lacked any feature necessary for it to safely perform its intended function or had any condition that rendered it unsafe for its intended use. Tincher rejected these criteria, holding instead that a plaintiff could prove the existence of a product defect by showing that (1) the danger posed by the product is unknowable and unacceptable to the ordinary consumer or (2) a reasonable person would conclude that the probability and seriousness of harm caused by the product outweigh the burden or costs of taking precautions.
Continue Reading Tincher Returns to Blow Away Some of Its Own Smoke

gavel-supremeCourt-lawbooks139876297TSOn November 19, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., No. 7 MAP 2013, a case closely followed by the Product Liability Bar in Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court’s decision was expected by many to resolve a lingering conflict in Pennsylvania product liability law. Of my many posts concerning the court’s decision, most have not addressed the net effect this decision will have on how product liability cases are litigated in Pennsylvania in the future, mostly because the Tincher decision gives precious little insight in this regard.

Tincher arose out of a residential fire that began when lightning struck the property. The Tinchers claimed that the corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), which was part of the home’s gas supply system, was designed defectively and the source of the fire. The plaintiffs and their subrogating insurer brought claims sounding in negligence and strict liability against Omega Flex Inc., the manufacturer of the CSST, in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, PA. Both claims centered on the plaintiff’s main allegation that the flexible CSST lacked sufficient thickness.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Product Liability Law Still Smoking after Reversal of Tincher