The Effect of Plaintiff's Conduct in Strict Products Liability in Texas: A Time for Reevaluation




Edgar, J. Hadley

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Texas Bar Journal


This article urges the Texas judiciary to reexamine and modify the existing law in the area of strict products liability. In Henderson v. Ford Motor Company, the Texas Supreme Court held that the aspect of plaintiff’s conduct known as voluntary assumption of risk is a complete bar to recovery and the facet known as contributory negligence is no defense at all in strict product liability cases. Professor Edgar points out that the leitmotif of the law of unintentional torts is to reduce accidents, thereby decreasing both physical and economic waste. Edgar argues that the best way to accomplish this goal is to abandon the “all or nothing” approach of Henderson, and permit the jury to consider the negligence of the manufacturer, producer, or designer, along with the contributory negligence of the plaintiff on the basis of a pure comparative fault system. Edgar concludes by noting that the judiciary, rather than the legislature, can best provide the appropriate modifications to the law of strict products liability.



Products liability, Contributory negligence, Comparative fault, Unintentional tort, Pure comparative fault, Comparative causation, Reform


43 Tex. B.J. 1103