Product Responsibility Series: Does Arkansas Recognize Market Share Responsibility As A Theory of Responsibility? | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC

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No. Arkansas did not adopt alternative liability or market share, but retained the traditional requirement of immediate cause in all tort cases. See Woodward v. Blythe, 249 Ark. 793, 462 SW2d 205 (1971). To prove a product liability case in Arkansas, a plaintiff must prove that a product manufactured or distributed by the named defendant caused him injury. See Chavers v. Gen. Motors Corp., 349 Ark. 550, 79 SW3d 361, 369–70 (2002); Jackson v. Anchor Packing Co., 994 F.2d 1295, 1303 (8th Cir. 1993) (observing that “Arkansas plaintiffs must present sufficient evidence to allow a jury to conclude that their exposure to the product is more likely than not. of a particular defendant was an important factor in producing their injuries “); Fields c. Wyeth, Inc., 613 F.Supp.2d 1056, 1060 (WD Ark. 2009) (“A basic requirement of product liability claims under Arkansas law is product identification, that is, that is, the actual product manufactured or distributed by the defendant caused harm to the plaintiff. ”).

All of this stems from the Arkansas Product Liability Act, which broadly defines “product liability claim” to include “all actions brought for or as a result of bodily injury, death or property damage caused by or resulting from the manufacturing, construction, design,. .. warning, instruction, marketing, packaging or labeling of any product ”, and this broad language encompasses the various claims of a claimant, regardless of their recovery theory. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-116-102 (5). But a claimant must still meet the Arkansas product identification requirement necessary to make a product liability claim. See Bell v. Pfizer, Inc., 716 F.3d 1087, 1092 (8th Cir. 2013). When a claimant cannot meet this requirement, such as an inappropriate attempt to rely on market share liability, a claim fails at the motion to dismiss stage.

This article is part of the Mitchell Williams Product Liability Series and explains the nuances of how Arkansas Product Liability Law is interpreted and applied.

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Clara Barnard

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