Products Liability in Nevada

The other day, an iPhone exploded in a repair shop in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The video went viral.  Although I’ve heard of these types of incidents before, that specific occurrence got me thinking.  About a year and a half ago, I started training to run a half-marathon.  Since that time, I’ve tried a variety of fitness watches and other equipment to help me improve my ability to run faster, and also assist with my overall health.

During the last 18 months, I’ve tried a Fitbit Charge 2, a lower end model Garmin Forerunner 35 (that was still awesome), the Apple Watch 2, the Apple Watch 3, and I’ve recently landed on using the Garmin Forerunner 935 (at some point in the future, I plan on reviewing all of that equipment for anyone interested).  In any event, the exploding iPhone got me thinking that even though it is probably more than extremely or remotely possible, what if one of my watches exploded on me during a workout or while wearing it at work?

A friend of mine runs an insurance company in Las Vegas and wrote a great article about products liability versus general liability as it applies to the insurance business.  You can read that article here: https://safeguardme.com/products-liability-versus-general-liability/.  With regards to products liability and a potential lawsuit, in Nevada a products liability claim falls under the doctrine of strict liability. “The doctrine of strict liability for an injury caused by a defective product applies even though the supplier has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product. Gen. Elec. Co. v. Bush, 88 Nev. 360,365,498 P.2d 366,369 (1972) abrogated by Motenko v. MGM Dist., Inc., 112 Nev. 103􀃀, 921 P.2d 933 (1996). However, Nevada courts have also held that the party which could most effectively reduce the hazards associated with a strict liability product is responsible for the injuries caused by that product. Allison v. Merck and Co., Inc., 878 P.2d 948, 952 (Nev. 1994).

In the case of the exploding iPhone, one could potentially sue the location where the product was sold, the distributor who shipped the Apple Watch, the company that produced it, and even Apple itself.  Even though there are a lot of potential defendants available in a case like that one, it is usually the manufacturer that has the most exposure. In other words, if there is a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is on the hook.

Thus, if you have been injured by a defective product strict liability applies, and barring any negligence on your own part, all of the potential defendants could be held jointly and severally liable for your injuries.

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