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Bullet Maker Not Liable Due to Obvious Danger of Products if Misused
Description Heirs of murder victims suit against hollow-point bullet maker dismissed. Under New Jersey law, the obvious danger of a product provides a complete defense for the producer.
Topic Torts
Key Words Products Liability, Obvious Danger, Misuse
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Green murdered three people while robbing a post office. Heirs sued Olin, the maker of Winchester Black Talon bullets used in the murders, which, plaintiffs claimed, "were defective, unreasonably dangerous, unfit and unsuitable for the purposes for which they were intended." The bullets were "defectively designed in such a manner as to open into razor sharp edges and to severely rip through and mutilate body parts of the individuals shot by such bullets" and, hence, were the proximate cause of death.
Decision Case dismissed. The New Jersey Products Liability Act applies in this case. Under the statute, "The obvious danger/consumer expectation defense provides a complete defense to liability where the danger is an inherent aspect of the product and where the danger could not feasibly be eliminated without impairing the usefulness of the product." Following the reasoning of New York and Louisiana courts, "plaintiffs have failed to establish that Black Talon bullets are unsafe, unfit or unsuitable for their intended use within the meaning of the [statute]."
Citation Leslie v. U.S., ---F.Supp.--- (1997 WL 754981, D.N.J.)
986 F.Supp. 900 (D., N.J., 1997)

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