Fipronil egg scare: implications for corporates

On 7 August 2017 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) announced that 21,000 eggs imported into the UK from farms in Belgium and the Netherlands were contaminated with the pesticide Fipronil.  The number of contaminated eggs imported into the UK is now estimated at 700,000 and around 70 different products containing eggs potentially contaminated with Fipronil have been recalled. Investigations into the incident in Europe are continuing.

The cost of the recalls has yet to be quantified but the losses (which will include the cost of the product recalls, business interruption losses, damage to reputation, and the settlement of any third party compensation claims) may be significant. Some parties will be looking to recoup their losses from other parties down the supply chain and, where relevant, their insurers.

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End-user of defective product prevented from bringing a claim when it has knowledge of the defects

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that where an end user has knowledge of the defects in a product, it is not able to bring a claim for any subsequent loss resulting from that defect. It held that an end user company would be deemed to have knowledge even where its senior managers were not aware. It is sufficient that employees entrusted with the task of maintaining and operating the defective equipment in a safe manner had such knowledge: Howmet Limited v Economy Devices Limited & Ors [2016] EWCA Civ 847.

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Emerging Legal Issues in 3D Printing and Product Liability: The View from the U.S. and the UK

In this article, published in Law Journal Newsletters, we consider who will be held liable if objects created through the use of 3D printing technology, and distributed to consumers and other users, turn out to be defective and unreasonably dangerous from the perspective of United States law as well as the regulatory environment in the United Kingdom.

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Our new guide to product liability and product recall insurance in the UK

In this guide, published as a chapter of the International Comparative Legal Guide to Product Liability 2016, we consider the types of liability to which producers and distributors of defective products may be exposed, and the scope of product liability and recall insurance policies. It also outlines practical considerations for insureds in product recall planning and compliance with the requirements of their insurance.

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Focus on 3D printing – the legal implications of an emerging technology

In this article published in PLC Magazine June 2016 we consider the effectiveness of the current law to deal with the competition that 3D printing presents for traditional manufacturing as well as the opportunities 3D printing provides for rights holders via alternative business models and the product liability challenges involved. Andrew Moir, Anthony Dempster, Rachel Montagnon, David Bennett and Richard Woods discuss the intellectual property and product liability issues involved. 

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Criminal liability for defective products: a refresher

With the coming into force last month of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, there has understandably been a significant focus on the civil remedies available to consumers who purchase defective products (see our recent blog post commenting on the new Act).  However, consumer businesses should also give close attention to the potential for criminal prosecution where products they supply turn out to be not just defective but unsafe.  In this blog post we discuss the various criminal offences which arise in the context of defective products.

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The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 – key changes that every consumer business should be aware of

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 represents a significant development in the regulation of consumer contracts under UK law. It consolidates and brings consistency to rules that were previously spread across a wide range of different Acts and Regulations. It also introduces new rules, particularly in relation to digital content, remedies available to consumers and unfair contract terms.

The Act comes into force on 1 October 2015 and will apply to contracts entered into after that date. In this article we consider the most important changes to existing consumer law of which consumer businesses need to be aware.

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Product Safety and Recall in the U.S. and EU

Joe Falcone and Howard Watson have published an article in Product Liability Law & Strategy addressing the varying approaches taken by the EU and the US to ensure the safety of products placed on the market in those jurisdictions, specifically with respect to supply chain and recall requirements as well as penalties for non-compliance. Continue reading