Harry philo and products liability cases

When I think of products cases I think of Harry Philo. He was the lawyer who wrote about concepts of product safety and principles that apply to the manufacture and sale of products. He wrote about hazard and danger. His publication Lawyer’s Desk Reference was the standard for plaintiff product liability cases. Here are a few of his concepts from this publication.

Hazard A hazard is a condition or changing set of circumstances which present the potential for injury

Risk Risk is simply the probability of injury expressed in percentages

Danger Danger is the unreasonable or unacceptable combination of hazard and risk

Defective product A defective product is one which is not reasonably safe for the reasonably foreseeable uses

Reasonable: Anything that is technically and economically feasible which would eliminate, safeguard or warn about the risk


"Any risk of injury or death is unreasonable or unacceptable if reasonable accident prevention methods could eliminated"

"Was it scientifically feasible and economically feasible to design this product in a reasonably safe manner?

The safety steps are: (1) eliminate the danger (2) If it can’t be eliminated establish guards to prevent injury and (3) if guards aren’t feasible, warn about the danger

About Paul Luvera

Plaintiff trial lawyer for 50 years. Past President of the Inner Circle of Advocates & Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Member American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy, International Society of Barristers, member of the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame & speaker at Spence Trial College
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