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Hofstra Law Review

Authors

Joel M. Scheer

Abstract

Seizing the banner from Justice Cardozo, who in 1931 declared that "the assault upon the citadel of privity is proceeding in these days apace," William Prosser openly declared war in 1960. The critics' ultimate objective was greater protection for the consumer who, in a simple products liability case, was first confronted with the difficulties of proving negligence, and then further frustrated by privity requirements. While in many products liability actions the res ipsa loquitur doctrine was used to satisfy the three aspects of negligence, privity requirements often bequeathed to the consumer a suit against the financially least responsible person in the long chain of distribution that began with the manufacturer and ended with the user.

In order to place the stated problem in proper perspective, the first section of this article will attempt a more detailed and critical explanation of the substance of the Restatement and Uniform Commercial Code approaches. The second part will proceed to illustrate how the vestige became situated within the statutes of limitation. Finally, an attempt will be made to harmonize the theories at hand so that a uniform use of specific pleadings and limitation statutes will be realized, hopefully providing peace of mind for the consumer through what would appear to be a rational policy objective advocated by Cardozo, Traynor and Prosser.

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