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The National Education already own network presents a law in the news with Professor Joseph R. Doolan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School. Today if you buy a product which results in injury to you or others and the injured person can establish that the injury resulted from negligence in the manufacturing process the injured person has a remedy. It's a civil action against the manufacturer. The law is even moving in the direction of imposing liability on the manufacture. Even in the absence of negligence. But my colleague William J Piers says this approach to the product safety problem is barn door itis. And he's not hesitant to tell us exactly why. Bill what do you have in mind with that characterization. My main Baradar I guess of course is that closing the DAR after the horse has been stolen on the barn. Now in this particular case we're faced with a problem in the area of product safety where for example there are over $100000 or 100000 injuries per year with power lawnmowers
over one hundred twenty five thousand injuries per year with the ringers on washing machines over a hundred fifty thousand injuries with respect to various types of heating equipment such as toasters and the like fry pans and whatever are used in the American home. Now as you know since World War 2 the American consumer has bought untold quantities of various types of manufactured household goods and products that can be extremely dangerous if they are poorly manufactured. Now what we have allowed at the present time under state law is if the person is injured then he can claim damages from the manufacturer from the wholesaler or from the retailer. With respect to that particular item and also in some states the various types of violations of safety rules with respect to products may be the subject of a criminal law sanction and which the manufacturer may be jailed or fined. In most cases being Corp's by a fine is imposed. Now if we're really going to do
anything about this problem the way I view it is that we must work at it as preventative in nature rather than providing redress once the injuries occurred. How do we go about providing a preventative regime here it seems to me that our problem is basically one what kind of situation do we have in the United States with respect to goods and products today. The fact is that we have a national economy of these goods cross state lines and large numbers are now imported from foreign countries. Now if you're going to regulate make sure the product is safe before it's marketed it seems to me there should be at the point of manufacture for an individual state or locality do anything about this becomes extremely difficult. Therefore I think that only the federal law can undertake a preventative program to make sure that unsafe television sets etc. are not sold to the American consumer. The National Commission on product safety which was established nearly two years no ago has been conducting hearings respect to
product safety in the United States. It will soon be terminating its hearings and making final its recommendations and in this area of what to do about unsafe products that are being sold to American consumers I am proposing that the national government provide the preventative safety approach but not interfere with the private rights to damages or perhaps even with criminal law sanctions. However I do think that the state and local government should play a role in helping and forcing any national standards that are developed. Another aspect of this is the powers in the Attorney Generals and prosecuting officials in order to condemn unsafe merchandise and goods in most states in a non satisfactory condition at the present time of the law and the prosecuting officials may not be able to move as expeditiously as possible. Therefore some state state law improvement is in order. Finally I should mention that
state and local regulation. If we were to take that causes a great deal of difficulty because manufacturers would be faced with a multitude of rules some of which may be conflicting and therefore it would be impossible to carry out these conflicting regulations. Federal law seems to be in order. Those are the views of Professor William J pierce the president of the Commission on the uniform state laws. PROFESSOR JOSEPH R. Julan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School as presented law in the new recorded by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service. This is the national educational radio network.
Law in the news
Product safety
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program examines the relationship between product safety and the law.
Series Description
This series focuses on current news stories that relate to the law.
Broadcast Date
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
Media type
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Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Julin, Joseph R.
Speaker: Pierce, William J. (William James), 1921-2004
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35a-420 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:04:20
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Chicago: “Law in the news; Product safety,” 1969-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Law in the news; Product safety.” 1969-07-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Law in the news; Product safety. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from