Following the Third Restatement on Torts, the Second Circuit predicted that the Vermont Supreme Court would adopt the “Malfunction Theory”, according to which it “may be inferred that the harm sustained by the plaintiff was caused by a product defect existing at the time of sale or distribution, without proof of a specific defect, when the incident that harmed the plaintiff: (a) was of a kind that ordinarily occurs as a result of product defect; and (b) was not, in the particular case, solely the result of causes other than product defect existing at the time of sale or distribution.” Because the district court should have taken into consideration plaintiffs’ expert testimony that excluded all possible ignition sources aside from a defect in the coffee maker, summary judgment was reversed. Allstate v. Hamilton Beach, No. 04-6282, 2007 U.S.App.LEXIS 189 (2d Cir. Jan. 5, 2007).
[Case further discussed on the “What’s New in Spoliation and E-Discovery?” page.]