West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



We are now all well-accustomed to rapid change. Alvin Toffler writes in his book, aptly titled Future Shock, that the rate of change in society today is accelerating and has become a major challenge to the individual's capacity to adapt and cope. In striking similarity, the change in products liability law has been so rapid that it presents one of the most fascinating examples of the common law's flexibility and its leadership role in social change. The purpose of this article is to detect, hopefully, the current state of the law of products liability in West Virginia and to make some suggestions about the future course that may be followed. The law of products liability in West Virginia is rich in its variety of theories and its potential for development. The first theory investigated is negligence. Several points emerge. West Virginia's negligence-based products liability law was quite conventional in terms of the pre-MacPherson' law; yet remains unsettled even now so many years after MacPherson; and there is a rather sharp divergence of opinion between the federal courts (applying West Virginia law) and the West Virginia court as to the status of negligence-based products liability law in West Virginia. Some projections for the future are offered. Part two surveys the past and present state of warranty-based products liability law. A very short part three suggests that the introduction of strict liability in tort concepts into West Virginia's products liability law may await legislative activity.

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Torts Commons



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