Dawn Goulet, Mark Miller Published in ITLA Magazine
An article written by Wexler Wallace attorneys Dawn Goulet and Mark Miller was recently published in Trial Journal, a publication of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA). The article examines the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Show v. Ford, 659 F.3d 584 (7th Cir. 2011) as it relates to established Illinois product liability law. The article focuses on how Illinois courts have adopted an integrated test for design defect based in part on the Restatement of Tort. Under this test, parties seeking to litigate a design defect can choose to employ either the consumer expectation test or the risk-utility test.
The article criticizes the Seventh Circuit’s use of dicta to undercut the consumer-expectation test as a viable, alternative test, concluding that there is still an important role for the lay judgment of jurors in product defect cases:
We ask juries to make tough decisions every day, knowing that jurors are not perfect. We do so because we still believe that there is value in having a group of real human beings, as representatives of our society, tell us what they consider to be reasonable or unreasonable. The Seventh Circuit’s decision in Show v. Ford is a disappointing rejection of this basic principal.