Chapter 93B of the General Laws is hereby amended by including the following new Section:
SECTION 19. NONMANUFACTURING SELLER LIABILITY
SECTION 1. Definitions.
(1) "Claimant" means a party seeking relief, including a plaintiff, counterclaimant, or cross-claimant.
(2) "Products liability action" means any action against a manufacturer or seller for recovery of damages arising out of personal injury, death, or property damage allegedly caused by a defective product whether the action is based in strict tort liability, strict products liability, negligence, misrepresentation, breach of express or implied warranty, or any other theory or combination of theories.
(3) "Seller" means a person who is engaged in the business of distributing or otherwise placing, for any commercial purpose, in the stream of commerce for use or consumption a product or any component part thereof.
(4) "Manufacturer" means a person who is a designer, formulator, constructor, rebuilder, fabricator, producer, compounder, processor, or assembler of any product or any component part thereof and who places the product or any component part thereof in the stream of commerce.
SECTION 2. Manufacturer's duty to indemnify.
(a) A manufacturer shall indemnify and hold harmless a seller against loss arising out of a products liability action, except for any loss caused by the seller's negligence, intentional misconduct, or other act or omission, such as negligently modifying or altering the product, for which the seller is independently liable.
(b) For purposes of this section, "loss" includes court costs and other reasonable expenses, reasonable attorney fees, and any reasonable damages.
(c) Damages awarded by the trier of fact shall, on final judgment, be deemed reasonable for purposes of this section.
(d) For purposes of this section, a wholesale distributor or retail seller who completely or partially assembles a product in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions shall be considered a seller.
(e) The duty to indemnify under this section:
(1) applies without regard to the manner in which the action is concluded; and
(2) is in addition to any duty to indemnify established by law, contract, or otherwise.
(f) A seller eligible for indemnification under this section shall give reasonable notice to the manufacturer of a product claimed in a petition or complaint to be defective, unless the manufacturer has been served as a party or otherwise has actual notice of the action.
(g) A seller is entitled to recover from the manufacturer court costs and other reasonable expenses, reasonable attorney fees, and any reasonable damages incurred by the seller to enforce the seller's right to indemnification under this section.
SECTION 3. Liability of nonmanufacturing sellers.
(a) A seller that did not manufacture a product is not liable for harm caused to the claimant by that product unless the claimant proves:
(1) that the seller participated in the design of the product;
(2) that the seller altered or modified the product and the claimant's harm resulted from that alteration or modification;
(3) that the seller installed the product, or had the product installed, on another product and the claimant's harm resulted from the product's installation onto the assembled product;
(a) the seller exercised substantial control over the content of a warning or instruction that accompanied the product;
(b) the warning or instruction was inadequate; and
(c) the claimant's harm resulted from the inadequacy of the warning or instruction;
(a) the seller made an express factual representation about an aspect of the product;
(b) the representation was incorrect;
(c) the claimant relied on the representation in obtaining or using the product; and
(d) if the aspect of the product had been as represented, the claimant would not have been harmed by the product or would not have suffered the same degree of harm;
(a) the seller actually knew of a defect to the product at the time the seller supplied the product; and
(b) the claimant's harm resulted from the defect; or
(7) that the manufacturer of the product is:
(a) insolvent; or
(b) not subject to the jurisdiction of the court.
(b) This section does not apply to a manufacturer or seller whose liability in a products liability action is governed by Chapter 93B. In the event of a conflict, Chapter 93B prevails over this section.
(c) If after service on a nonresident manufacturer through the secretary of state, the manufacturer fails to answer or otherwise make an appearance in the time required by law, it is conclusively presumed for the purposes of Subsection (a)(7)(B) that the manufacturer is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court unless the seller is able to secure personal jurisdiction over the manufacturer in the action.
SECTION 4. Design defects.
(a) In a products liability action in which a claimant alleges a design defect, the burden is on the claimant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(1) there was a safer alternative design; and
(2) the defect was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death for which the claimant seeks recovery.
(b) In this section, "safer alternative design" means a product design other than the one actually used that in reasonable probability:
(1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the claimant's personal injury, property damage, or death without substantially impairing the product's utility; and
(2) was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer or seller by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.
(c) This section does not supersede or modify any statute, regulation, or other law of this state or of the United States that relates to liability for, or to relief in the form of, abatement of nuisance, civil penalties, cleanup costs, cost recovery, an injunction, or restitution that arises from contamination or pollution of the environment.
(d) This section does not apply to:
(1) a cause of action based on a toxic or environmental tort; or
(2) a drug or device, as those terms are defined in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Section 321).
(e) This section is not declarative, by implication or otherwise, of the common law with respect to any product and shall not be construed to restrict the courts of this state in developing the common law with respect to any product which is not subject to this section.
SECTION 5. Compliance with government standards.
(a) In a products liability action brought against a product manufacturer or seller, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product manufacturer or seller is not liable for any injury to a claimant caused by some aspect of the formulation, labeling, or design of a product if the product manufacturer or seller establishes that the product's formula, labeling, or design complied with mandatory safety standards or regulations adopted and promulgated by the federal government, or an agency of the federal government, that were applicable to the product at the time of manufacture and that governed the product risk that allegedly caused harm.
(b) The claimant may rebut the presumption in Subsection (a) by establishing that:
(1) the mandatory federal safety standards or regulations applicable to the product were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage; or
(2) the manufacturer, before or after marketing the product, withheld or misrepresented information or material relevant to the federal government's or agency's determination of adequacy of the safety standards or regulations at issue in the action.
(c) In a products liability action brought against a product manufacturer or seller, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product manufacturer or seller is not liable for any injury to a claimant allegedly caused by some aspect of the formulation, labeling, or design of a product if the product manufacturer or seller establishes that the product was subject to pre-market licensing or approval by the federal government, or an agency of the federal government, that the manufacturer complied with all of the government's or agency's procedures and requirements with respect to pre-market licensing or approval, and that after full consideration of the product's risks and benefits the product was approved or licensed for sale by the government or agency. The claimant may rebut this presumption by establishing that:
(1) the standards or procedures used in the particular pre-market approval or licensing process were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage; or
(2) the manufacturer, before or after pre-market approval or licensing of the product, withheld from or misrepresented to the government or agency information that was material and relevant to the performance of the product and was causally related to the claimant's injury.
(d) This section does not extend to manufacturing flaws or defects even though the product manufacturer has complied with all quality control and manufacturing practices mandated by the federal government or an agency of the federal government.
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