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Misuse or Abuse of the Product

15 January, 2016 - 09:34

Where the plaintiff does not know a use of the product is dangerous but nevertheless uses for an incorrect purpose, a defense arises, but only if such misuse was not foreseeable. If it was, the manufacturer should warn against that misuse. In Eastman v. Stanley Works, a carpenter used a framing hammer to drive masonry nails; the claw of the hammer broke off, striking him in the eye. 1 He sued. The court held that while a defense does exist “where the product is used in a capacity which is unforeseeable by the manufacturer and completely incompatible with the product’s design…misuse of a product suggests a use which was unanticipated or unexpected by the product manufacturer, or unforeseeable and unanticipated [but] it was not the case that reasonable minds could only conclude that appellee misused the [hammer]. Though the plaintiff’s use of the hammer might have been unreasonable, unreasonable use is not a defense to a strict product-liability action or to a negligence action.”