Liability of Manufacturer For Design Defect When Customer Supplies Part of Design

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled (applying Minnesota law) that a product manufacturer who is following specs supplied by its customer can be liable for defective design in the evidence shows that the manufacturer particpated in the design of the product.

Of course, the general rule is that a manufacturer which follows the design of another is not liable for defective design unless the specifications are so obviously dangerous that they should not be followed.  Here, however, the plaintiff pointed to specific facts from which a jury could conclude that the defendant jointly designed the product.

The case is Thompson v. Hirano Tecseed Company, Ltd., No. 05-2813 (8th Cir. August 1, 2006).