Product Liability – Types of Defects

A member of the New York State Bar Association, Lisa M. Nousek has nearly a decade of experience practicing law in the New York area. Lisa M. Nousek is a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP and handles civil litigations, including product liability.

A safeguard for consumers, product liability holds a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retail store owner responsible for damages caused by its products. Considered a strict liability offense, product liability weighs heavily on the defectiveness of a product. Attorneys handling a product liability case must provide sufficient evidence to prove that product was flawed in design, manufacturing, or marketing.

Design defect predates product manufacturing. While a product may fulfill its purpose, the design can cause unnecessary harm to consumers. A plaintiff who wishes to argue a case based on design defect must provide a hypothetical alternative design that offers safer features, carries out the intended use, and maintains economic viability.

A manufacturing defect occurs during the creation of a product. Typically, a manufacturing defect only affects a small amount of products within a larger batch being produced. The item strays from the original design, and therefore becomes a dangerous product for consumers.

The final defect involves marketing, which requires proper disclosure of all product dangers. In addition, a marketing defect is caused with the distribution of improper product instructions.


The Food and Drug Law Institute Writing Competition

The recipient of a 2013 New York Metro Rising Star award, Lisa M. Nousek practices complex civil litigation at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Armonk, New York. While earning her law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law, Lisa M. Nousek won the Food and Drug Law Institute’s H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competition for her article promoting the importance of consumer knowledge.

For 65 years, the Food and Drug Law Institute has served as an important resource for those in the field of food and drug law. With the values of neutrality and innovation, this group discusses global policy and encourages lawmakers to adopt a reasonable and informed approach to regulations. It accomplishes this by running over 30 conferences and putting out nearly 50 publications throughout the year.

To support the next generation of lawyers, the Food and Drug Law Institute hosts the H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competition. This contest invites JD candidates and recent law school graduates to write papers that analyze topics related to food, drugs, biologics, medical devices, and related areas. Participants can either choose to submit a piece up to 40 pages, or one between 41 pages and 100 pages. Applicants are judged on qualities such as originality of topic and the depth of legal analysis. First place winners receive a $4,000 award, while second places winners receive a $1,000 award. Winning proposals may be published in the Food and Drug Law Journal.