Admiralty Law—Product Liability

Air & Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, No. 17-1104

Lower courts are divided on the circumstances in which a defendant can be liable on product liability claims for cases that arise under the jurisdiction of federal admiralty law. Some courts have applied a bright-line rule that defendants can be liable only if they made, supplied, or assisted in creating the circumstances that gave rise to the injury. Elsewhere, courts have applied a multifactor causation standard grounded in foreseeability. The legal issue arises with frequency in cases alleging that a defendant failed to warn of risks of asbestos exposure. The Court will be expected to hear argument on this matter in the fall.