A defendant in a products liability suit may employ one of several defenses to liability. One of the more common defenses is that the plaintiff misused the product in a manner that was not reasonably foreseeable to the manufacturer. For instance, assume that a plaintiff wanted to sweep a number of rocks in his driveway back into a bed of rocks. The plaintiff decides to use his lawnmower to shoot the rocks back into the rock bed. One of the rocks strikes and injures the plaintiff. The defendant could argue that using the lawnmower to move the rocks off of the driveway was not a reasonably foreseeable use of the product.
Other defenses may be based on the plaintiff’s own negligence in using a product or on the plaintiff’s assumption of the risk associated with the product. Similar defenses apply in breach of warranty claims. In a tortious misrepresentation claim, the primary defense centers on whether a plaintiff’s reliance on a seller’s statement is justifiable. If a plaintiff’s reliance is not justified, then the lack of reliance defeats an essential element of the plaintiff’s claim.