Gonzaga Law Review
Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts forever changed the means by which an individual would be held liable for placing defective products into the stream of commerce. Strict liability, which had previously been restricted to cases involving dangerous activities and wild animals, became a new cause of action in almost all product cases. As a result, this section of the Restatement has been a catalyst to a multitude of litigation. More causes of action have been brought alleging strict liability for injuries caused by a defective product than in any other area of tort law.
Now that almost twenty-five years have passed since the adoption of this rule, much of the early uncertainty associated with it has abated. For the most part, the concept and its elements have been clearly established and universally accepted, making this a good time to look back, consider what the drafters of this section intended, and reflect on the judicial changes that have occurred as a result of its enactment. The apparent intent of the drafters has in some respects been altered, and the section has been extended to include events and individuals not mentioned in the original text. This reflection on the section illustrates that the original Section 402A is not necessarily the law that is in effect today.
Charles E. Cantú, Reflections on Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts: A Mirror Crack’d, 25 Gonz. L. Rev. 205 (1989-90).