Louisiana Products Liability Law
The Louisiana Products Liability Act ("LPLA"), which is codified at Louisiana Revised Statute section 9:2800.51, et seq., provides the exclusive theories under which a claimant may recover for damage caused by a product. Under the LPLA, a manufacturer can be held liable to a claimant for damage proximately caused by an unreasonably dangerous characteristic of a product when such damage arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.54 Conduct or circumstances that result in liability under the LPLA are "fault" within the meaning of Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.52
A product can be unreasonably dangerous in four ways: construction or composition, design, inadequate warning, express warranty. Id.
A product is unreasonably dangerous in construction or composition if, when it left the manufacturer's control, it deviated in a material way from the manufacturer's specifications or performance standards or from otherwise identical products manufactured by the same manufacturer. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.55
A product is unreasonably dangerous in design if, when it left the manufacturer's control, an alternative design existed that was capable of preventing the claimant's damage and the likelihood that the product's design would cause the claimant's damage and the gravity of that damage outweighed the burden on the manufacturer of adopting such alternative design and the adverse affect of such alternative design on the utility of the product. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.56 However, a manufacturer shall not be liable if, at the time it left his control, he did not know and could not have known (in light of then existing reasonably available scientific and technologicall knowledge) of the unreasonably dangerous design characteristic or the alternative design; or the alternative design was not feasible (in light of then existing reasonably available scientific and technological knowledge or then existing economic practicality). La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.59
A product is unreasonably dangerous because of an inadequate warning if, when it left the manufacturer's control, it possessed a characteristic that could cause damage and the manufacturer failed to use reasonable care to provide an adequate warning of such characteristic. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.57 If a manufacturer acquires or should acquire knowledge of a dangerous characteristic after it leaves his control, he owes a duty of reasonable care to provide an adequate warning. Id. However, a warning is not required when the product is not dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user with ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product's characteristics or the user already knows or reasonably should be expected to know of the characteristic. Id. In addition, a manufacturer shall not be liable if, at the time the product left his control, he did not know and could not have known of the unreasonably dangerous characteristic (in light of then existing reasonably available scientific and technological knowledge). La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.59
A product is unreasonably dangerous for not conforming to an express warranty made at any time if the express warranty induced the claimant to use the product and the damage was proximately caused because the express warranty was untrue. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.58
The LPLA expressly does not apply to actions against the following persons or entities, unless they meet the definition of "manufacturer" under the LPLA: (1) providers of professional services (even if the service results in a product); (2) provides of nonprofessional services where the essence of the service is the furnishing of judgment or skill (even if the service results in a product); (3) producers of natural fruits and other raw products in their natural state that are derived from animals, fowls, aquatic life, or invertebrates including but not limited to milk, eggs, honey, and wool; (4) farmers and other producers of agricultural plants in their natural state; (5) ranchers and other producers of animals, fowl, aquatic life, or invertebrates in their natural state; and (6) harvesters and other producers of fish, crawfish, oysters, crabs, mollusks, or other aquatic animals in their natural state. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.52 Finally, the LPLA "was not designed to impose liability on a manufacturer or seller for the improper use of a properly designed and manufactured" firearm. La. Rev. Stat. 9:2800.60
Prescription. Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year, which commences from the date the injury or damage is sustained. La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
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