Design Defects Under Louisiana Law

October 1, 2020 Accident

Design Defects Under Louisiana Law

If you or a loved one has been injured by an inherently dangerous product here in Louisiana, you can sue and recover money damages. The right to recover for injuries caused by dangerous products is provided for by the Louisiana Products Liability Act — La. R.S. 9:2800.51 et seq. One of the possible theories of recovery is a design defect. Design defects cases are complex and require the assistance of experienced Louisiana products liability attorneys like the ones at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. Here is a quick rundown on how to prove design defects here in Louisiana.

Proving a design defect requires the victim to demonstrate three legal elements:

  • That an alternative design existed
  • That the alternative design would have been “significantly less likely” to cause the harm and
  • That the likelihood that the product as designed would cause the harm was greater than the burden of adopting the alternative design and any adverse effects the new design would have on the utility of the product

See La. R.S. 9:2800.56. As a practical matter, the most important step in proving an inherently dangerous design defect case is to identify an alternative design that would have been safer. Often, the best evidence of such an alternative design is an example of a similar product made by a different manufacturer that is safer. Even better is providing evidence that the wrongdoer itself manufactures a similar product with a safer design.

An example like this is provided by the case of Thomas v. Bracco Diagnostics, Inc., Case No. 3:19-CV-00493 (US Dist. W.D. La. February 27, 2020). That case involved intravenous injections of a substance called “GBCA” which is intended to create clearer, sharper images in MRI and MRA scans. There is a known medical danger when using GBCAs which sometimes cause a toxic build-up in the body if the body retains part of the GBCA. The plaintiff was injected with a version of GBCA manufactured by Bracco Diagnostics (“Bracco”) called MultiHance. Bracco also sold a version of GBCA called ProHance. The two products were different in that one used macrocyclic bonds and the other used linear bonds. The plaintiff, who had been given MultiHance, alleged that the ProHance was safer to inject because it is more easily processed and excreted by the body. Had he been given ProHance, the plaintiff alleged that he would not have suffered injury.

Because the plaintiff was able to identify an alternative design using linear bonds rather than macrocyclic bonds the plaintiff satisfied the first element of proving dangerous design. Because the alternative design was manufactured by the same company, this also demonstrated the third element, manufacturing feasibility. On these grounds, the court upheld the design defect claim based on the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

Because of the complexity of design defect cases, it is important to seek legal representation from experienced products liability attorneys. It is important to act quickly since there are strict deadlines for when a products liability case must be filed. Failure to file within the deadlines will lead to permanent dismissal of the claim.

Contact Experienced Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers Today

For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record with many types of personal injury and products liability cases under Louisiana law. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also contact us 24/7 by using our “Contact Us” link.