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Manufacturer Negligence in Alberta

The Alberta Court of Appeal recently looked at the issue of manufacturer negligence in the case of St Isidore Co-op Limited v AG Growth International Inc, 2020 ABCA 447.

The Court said at paragraph 19:

As provided in Tabrizi v Whallon Machine Inc, [1996] 29 CCLT (2d) 176 at para 30, 1996 CanLII 3532 (BCSC) [Tabrizi], manufacturers have two duties: “… one being the duty to manufacture products that are reasonably safe and the second being the duty to warn of dangers inherent in its products.

Regarding the duty to manufacture, the court said at paragraph 21:

The trial judge correctly stated that “[i]n considering whether a design is negligent due to alleged safety defects, the court may undertake a ‘risk-utility analysis’ which ‘weighs the risks of the impugned design against the ease, cost, risk and loss of utility of a proposed safer design’”, citing Dean F Edgell, Product Liability in Canada (Markham, Ont: Butterworths, 2000) at 52-53 [Product Liability]: Decision at para 39. Thereafter at paras 40-41, she appropriately adopted the risk-utility analysis set out in Daishowa-Marubeni at para 38 which provides as follows:

Claims in negligent design require the court to balance the risk inherent in the product as designed, considering its utility and cost, against the risks inherent in a safer, alternate product or design. One has to look at the utility of the product, the nature of the product in terms of the likelihood it will cause injury, the availability of a safer design, the potential for designing and manufacturing the product so it is safer but remains functional and reasonably priced, the ability of the plaintiff to have avoided injury with careful use of the product, the degree of awareness of the potential danger that can be attributed to the plaintiff and the manufacturer's ability to spread any costs related to improving the safe[t]y of the design.

Regarding the duty to warn the court said at 33:

[33] In Hollis v Dow Corning Corp, [1995] 4 SCR 634 at para 20, 1995 CanLII 55 [Hollis], citing Lambert, the Supreme Court of Canada provided that:

The duty to warn is a continuing duty, requiring manufacturers to warn not only of dangers known at the time of sale, but also of dangers discovered after the product has been sold and delivered. All warnings must be reasonably communicated, and must clearly describe any specific dangers that arise from the ordinary use of the product. [Citations omitted].

If you have been injured due to a manufactured product, please feel free to contact us.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.

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