In the old days, when a person was injured from using a defective product, they would have to sue under contract law. Then came the case of Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. (59 Cal.2d 57, 27 Cal.Rptr. 697 (1963)). In that case, Greenman was injured using a power drill. He sued on the grounds of negligence and breach of warranty. Greenman won, but more importantly, the Court reasoned that in the case of defective products, “the liability is not governed by the law of contract warranties, but by the law of strict liability in torts.” This was a radical departure from product liability, and led to the modern strict liabilitystandard.

  • This one single case was used to justify Restatement of Torts §402A, which said:
    • Sellers are generally liable for physical injuries to persons or property without the need to prove fault.
    • Privity rules are abolished.
    • Strict liability is enforced.
    • The consumer’s reasonable expectations defined what counts as a “defective product.”
  • Every jurisdiction has now adopted Restatement of Torts §402A.