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Cornell University Law School

Torts

1993

Determinants of products liability appeals

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Products Liability Cases On Appeal: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, James A. Henderson Jr. Jan 1993

Products Liability Cases On Appeal: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg, James A. Henderson Jr.

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article analyzes 1,100 opinions to find the determinants of products liability cases on appeal in state and federal courts. The strongest predictor of plaintiff success on appeal is whether the plaintiff prevailed in a jury trial. Other important factors are the defendant's status as manufacturer, wholesaler, or successor corporation; the plaintiffs degree of injury; and whether the case involved a failure-to-warn claim. The existence of a comparative negligence regime increases the tendency of appellate courts to affirm lower courts. These results allow rejection of a simple model in which pre- and posttrial settlement behavior filters out cases in which …