PRODUCT LIABILITY: Defective CO2 Wine Openers
January 24, 2019
Most recently a client approached our offices after being permanently injured while using a popular CO2 wine opener. Right before sitting for dinner with her family she attempted to open a bottle of wine however the pressure from the wine opener caused the bottle to explode and shatter into inestimable pieces. After being rushed to urgent care the client underwent an emergency operation for lacerations to her forearm and tendons. After a year of rehabilitation and occupational therapy the client was never able to fully recover. She spent 16 months pulling pieces of shard out of her forearms and developed trigger finger and post-traumatic Dupuytren’s disease.
As consumers we have the right to expect that products we purchase have been properly manufactured and will function properly without any defects. However when a manufacturer puts out a defective product in the market, the public has the right to recover for the injuries resulting from their use of the defective product.
Our law recognizes that even a product flawlessly designed and produced may nevertheless possess such risks to the user without a suitable warning; in other words the product becomes “defective” simply by the absence of a warning. Thus, manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers about the hazards inherent in their products. The purpose of requiring adequate warnings is to inform consumers about a product’s hazards and faults of which they are unaware, so that the consumer may then either refrain from using the product altogether or avoid the danger by careful use.” (Taylor v. Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc.(2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 564, 577)
Two types of warnings may be given. If the product’s dangers may be avoided or mitigated by proper use of the product, the manufacturer may be required adequately to instruct the consumer as to how the product should be used. If the risks involved in the use of the product are unavoidable, the manufacturer must give an adequate warning to enable the potential user to make an informed choice whether to use the product or abstain.” (Buckner v. Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. (2013) 222 Cal.App.4th 522)
The CO2 wine opener our client utilized lacked sufficient warning of the potential risk for a wine bottle to explode, despite following all of the directions and exercising due care. In this instance, the manufacture of the CO2 wine opener was aware that its product could cause potential physical harm even if used according to the instructions provided. Specifically, our client followed all of the instructions and suffered an injury that she was not warned about. This is precisely the type of situation that strict products liability law was designed to address and the manufacture is liable for the injuries that resulted.
If you or someone you know has been injured by use of a defective product, we invite you to call us today at 619-432-5145 for a free consultation with one of our experienced product liability attorneys.