Strict Liability Fault in a Product Liability Lawsuit

Lisa M. Nousek has worked as a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Armonk, New York, for nearly a decade. As an attorney with the firm, Lisa M. Nousek represents clients in complex civil litigation, such as product liability cases.

Some of the nation’s most notable product liability cases involve settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In order to achieve a successful verdict in a product liability case, plaintiffs must prove that fault lies with the defendant and that physical or property damages have been rendered through some form of negligence. In determining fault, defendants may often argue on the basis of strict liability fault.

A case of strict liability may be charged against a company or manufacturer if a product meets three basic qualifications. First, any potentially dangerous defect charged to the product must be deemed unreasonably so, and must have resulted in some kind of injury for the user. Second, any injury or damage caused by the defect must have occurred while the product was being used in accordance with instructions and for its intended purpose. Finally, the product should not differ in any substantial way from how it appeared and functioned on first use. For example, strict liability may fail when considering a product that had been used for several years and needed to be replaced.

A defendant charged with strict liability during a product liability case often relies on the awareness of defect defense. Under this defense, businesses and manufacturers contest that the user knew about the defect or poor condition of the product and continued to use it anyway. An awareness of defect defense argues that in doing so, the consumer has waived his or her rights to personal damages.

Supporting Friends of Karen

Lisa M. Nousek earned her juris doctor from the University of Virginia Law School in 2005 and spent the next year clerking for a federal judge. In 2006, she joined Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where she is a partner focusing on complex civil litigation, including product liability cases. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Lisa M. Nousek contributes her time and resources to several charitable endeavors, including Friends of Karen.

Friends of Karen started in 1978 after Karen MacInnes was diagnosed with Lafora’s disease, a rare genetic disorder. Her family wanted to take the 16-year-old girl home to spend her last months surrounded by friends and family. Sheila Peterson, a family friend, initiated a neighborhood fundraiser to help defray the cost of Karen’s care. After she passed, Karen’s family persuaded Ms. Peterson to continue the fundraising efforts to support other families in the same situation.

Friends of Karen is the only organization based in the New York City metropolitan area that provides a comprehensive range of services at no cost to families caring for children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions. The organization has supported more than 5,500 children and their families and works with 22 of the major hospitals in the New York metropolitan area to provide emotional support, financial assistance, and advocacy. Emotional support includes guidance, bereavement counseling, and a sibling support program. Financial assistance consists of direct payment of expenses not covered by insurance as well as basic living expenses for families whose parents stop working to care for their children. Advocacy action ensures that families have access to benefits available from the government, pro bono legal counsel, and special educational requirements.

Friends of Karen also sponsors a Holiday Adopt-A-Family program to help brighten Christmas and Hanukkah and distributes birthday gifts to sick children and their siblings.