Sample Business Law Paper on Liability in Product Misuse

Should Businesses Be Liable When Customers Misuse Products They Provide? Yes
Deficiencies marring product liability law have sparked a heated global debate. Pro-
manufacturers arguments posit that a manufacturer’s responsibility ends when a consumer
freely chooses to buy a product, an action that inevitably carries consequences. Contrariwise,
consumer activists praise tort law as an essential tool for political empowerment. Businesses
must bear responsibility when customers misuse their products, as long as cause and effect
can be proven; this motivates businesses to prioritize customer safety and grants to citizens a
vital political power.
Manufacturers distance themselves from product liability because bearing full
responsibility for misuse blunts competitive edge and is morally unjustifiable. They believe
that product liability laws impede competition instead of deterring negligence, fraud, or
breach of warranty. Relatedly, Goldberg and Zipursky (2010) speculate that even after a
manufacturer has made a product free from any whiff of fault, the average consumer would
tend towards a cheaper alternative and first-party insurance. Such lawsuits thus increase the
cost of doing business, which translates to high product prices, recall of product lines, and
withholding of potentially lifesaving discoveries. Also, it is morally wrong to punish an
enterprise, in a supposedly free-market system, for not knowing and preventing all possible
ways of misusing its product. For instance, it is unreasonable to hold the manufacturer liable
if a consumer buys and uses a sword to decapitate an infant. Product liability law is flawed;
however, even gross product misuse by consumers should not exonerate producers.
Thirty-four million people sustain injuries or die annually due to a product-related
accident (Andre & Velasquez, 2015). Businesses and consumers should collaborate towards
reducing these product-related tragedies; increasing the burden consumers must bear seems
an improper approach. Conversely, the old-fashioned idea of a free market system disregards
how woefully uninformed and poorly equipped consumers are, rendering “free choice”

impracticable. Additionally, unlike consumers, manufactures have the financial capability,
technical knowledge, human capital, and laboratories to assess the potential risks associated
with a product. In the same vein, product misuse is easy to dismiss as a customer problem
when, in reality, manufacturers fail to try hard enough to identify ways a product can harm a
consumer and respond appropriately.
Product liability lawsuits remain vital regardless of whether, or not, a cause and effect
are provable. According to Goldberg and Zipursky (2010), tort law empowers citizens
politically by authorizing victims to demand a determination, or lack thereof, of victimization
and recourse where appropriate. Tort law complements the right to speak, assemble, vote, and
petition by granting a commoner the right to complain and a promise of a redress upon
proving cause and effect. Limiting the circumstances under which an individual can hold
business entities accountable, by default, disempowers citizens; it downplays their relevance
in a complex constitutional structure for compelling the law to tend to general welfare
without compromising citizens’ interests.
As the world waits for a consensus between manufacturers and consumers, this paper
leans towards the latter. Customers lack the security that corporations enjoy from their
immense resources. Accordingly, buyers need a legal avenue that allows them to compel
businesses to take their safety concerns to heart. Customers already face a plethora of
challenges in trying to prove a case of victimization, making it harder for them to get
recourse could prove even disastrous.



Andre, C., & Velasquez, M. (2015, November 20). Who should pay? The product liability
debate. Home – Santa Clara University. Retrieved March 30, 2020,
Goldberg, J. C., & Zipursky, B. C. (2010). The easy case for products liability law: A
response to professors polinsky and shavell. Harvard