>British courts would almost certainly enforce a "duty of care" to
>provide adequate instructions, especially if the lack of them has
>resulted in major personal injury or property damage.
It's not only the British courts Ian, but American civil law is derived from
English common law. A failure of a "duty to inform" is as much a negligence
tort here as it is there.
Unless codified by state statute, each state and jurisdictions within a
state define negligence as it applies to a personal injury. Most states use
the "Reasonably Prudent Person" test in establishing whether a duty to
inform or protect exists. If a personal injury results from a manufacturer
not informing the purchaser of a potentially dangerous condition, and it's
reasonable that the purchaser could, over time be exposed to that condition,
AND the burden placed on the manufacturer to inform is minimal, this is
negligence, pure and simple. I doubt there's a single state that would
deviate from this standard, with the sole exception being Louisiana whose
state legal system is derived from Napoleonic law. Even so, Louisiana has
probably codified this into its law.
Establishing jurisdiction to hale a party across state lines is relatively
easy too, ever since the "minimal contacts" test came into existence after
WWII. If company X in state Y sells a product in state Z, a claimant can
establish *personal* jurisdiction without having to resort to bringing an
action before a federal court, which is much more difficult to achieve.
My point is not to present a legal dissertation on negligence, but if I were
manufacturing towers for radio amateurs when it's common knowledge
throughout the tower industry that hams oftentimes work on their own towers,
I would document the hell out of my product and cover every reasonable and
rational angle. Remember, the degree of information presented doesn't have
to be perfect, just reasonable. (See the Rohn product catalogs for an
example of this).
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