Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weird Cases 4

Nice case on product liability and the effect of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Richardson v Lrc Products Ltd [2000] P.I.Q.R. P164.
The claimant claimed damages for personal injuries which she suffered when, on May 20, 1995, a condom manufactured by the defendant being used by the claimant's husband failed as he was having sexual intercourse with the claimant. The claimant became pregnant as a result.
In his judgement Justice Kennedy sets out the facts:
The relevant act of sexual intercourse took place on a Saturday afternoon. Mr Richardson opened the foil and put on the condom. Mrs Richardson watched him. The act of sexual intercourse was unremarkable to her. It lasted, she thought, perhaps about four minutes but nobody attaches too much importance to that estimate.
They kept the broken condom (except for some bits that were "never found")
the claimant says that he put it on a piece of kitchen paper and then into a painted wooden cupboard in their bathroom. [...] The condom remained there for about two days until Mr Richardson wrote his letter of complaint which is dated May 23. At about that time the claimant put it in a brown glass screw-top jar. There it remained until it was about to go to the solicitors when she went out and purchased a more appropriate container.
After that they went to court, and after hearing a lot of expert evidence about the fragility of rubber and ozone damage they decided that there was no breach from the defendants. This is because there is enough scientific evidence that condoms "did burst on occasion for no readily discernible reason" that consumers are not entitled to have an "actual expectation" of safety against unwanted pregnancies.

Well, it came in handy in today's exam.

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