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AMI 1001 Products Liability—Negligence—Duty of Manufacturer—General

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 1001
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 10. Products Liability
AMI 1001 Products Liability—Negligence—Duty of Manufacturer—General
A manufacturer of a (product) has a duty to use ordinary care [in its design][and][in the selection of the materials used in it][and][in its assembly][and][to inspect it][and][to test it][and][to package it] in order to protect those [who will use it][who are in the area of its use] from unreasonable risk of harm [while it is being used for its intended purpose][or][while it is being used for any purpose which should reasonably be expected by the manufacturer].
[A manufacturer is not relieved of the duty to use ordinary care in the design of a product merely because the dangerous feature is clearly exposed to those using the product.]
In determining whether (manufacturer) was negligent, you may consider the degree of skill and care ordinarily possessed and used by manufacturers doing work of a nature similar to that shown by the evidence in this case.
NOTE ON USE
Foreseeability is frequently an issue in products liability cases. In these instances, AMI 302 should be given in its entirety.
COMMENT
This instruction is based on the Arkansas Product Liability Act of 1979 (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-116-101 et seq.).
The bracketed paragraph is based upon the holding in Forrest City Machine Works, Inc. v. Aderhold, 273 Ark. 33, 616 S.W.2d 720 (1981), in which the court determined that “[m]anufacturers in Arkansas are not and should not be relieved of the duty to exercise due care in the design and manufacture of equipment merely because the dangerous feature is clearly exposed to those foreseeably using the machine.”
For a discussion of the history of products liability causes of action, see International Harvester Co. v. Land, 234 Ark. 682, 354 S.W.2d 13 (1962), in which the court held that, in these types of cases, it is for the jury to decide whether the manufacturer took the proper precautions to protect users from harm or whether, by design and manufacture, the manufacturer subjected users to an unreasonable risk of harm.
Circumstantial evidence may be offered to support a claim. When a litigant relies in whole or in part on circumstantial evidence, it is proper for the court to define circumstantial evidence for the jury. Ford Motor Co. v. Fish, 233 Ark. 634, 346 S.W.2d 469 (1961); AMI 108 (defining circumstantial evidence).
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was held not applicable to a case where the allegedly defective product was not under the exclusive control of either the installer or manufacturer for a ten-month period prior to the alleged accident. Kapp v. Bob Sullivan Chevrolet Co., 234 Ark. 395, 353 S.W.2d 5 (1962); AMI 609 (instructing on res ipsa loquitur). See also Green v. Equitable Powder Mfg. Co., 95 F. Supp. 127 (W.D. Ark. 1951) (discussing the applicability of res ipsa loquitur to this type of action). For an instruction on circumstantial evidence see AMI 1016.
No showing of privity is necessary in a negligence action between the manufacturer and the plaintiff; the test is foreseeability of probable injury. Ark. Code Ann. § 4-86-101. See International Harvester Co., supra; Chapman Chem. Co. v. Taylor, 215 Ark. 630, 222 S.W.2d 820 (1949).
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