Preventing Successor Liability for Defective Products: Safeguards for Acquiring Corporations


In recent years, many courts have determined longstanding limitations on successor liability to be insufficiently sensitive to the compensation needs of products liability claimants. In response, courts in several jurisdictions have eroded traditional corporate law immunities to successor liability for defective products. Although this liberalization of the principles of successor liability has expanded the range of potential defendants in many tort lawsuits, the expansion of liability has caused an increase in uncertainty in corporate transactions, and an increase in complex legal and logistical maneuvering to avoid the growing liability web. This Article seeks to outline the expansion of successor liability in the products area, note the negative implications of that expansion, and identify mechanisms to prevent the attachment of successor liability under both the traditional and expanded regimes. The Article also prescribes a statutory alternative to create much needed stability and certainty in this area through a straightforward allocation of liabilities between purchasers and sellers.


Corporate successor liability



John P. Arness (Hogan & Hartson, Washington D.C.)
L. Anthony Sutin (Hogan & Hartson, Washington D.C.)
Teresa C. Plotkin (Hogan & Hartson, Washington D.C.)



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