5 Emerging Trends in Products Liability & Mass Torts: AI, Public Nuisance, Right to Repair, PFAS Claims, Expert Testimony

Houston, TX – The landscape of products liability and mass torts is set to undergo significant changes in the coming years. Here are five key trends to watch in this legal arena:

Firstly, the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) may lead to the emergence of mass tort claims related to defective product design or defective code. As AI becomes more prevalent in various industries, the potential for legal challenges based on AI-related issues is growing.

Secondly, the use of Public Nuisance as a means of assigning liability in mass torts is on the rise. State attorneys generals are increasingly relying on this doctrine, which is rooted in real property jurisprudence. These cases often involve public health issues that don’t neatly fit under the legal definition of strict liability.

Thirdly, the debate over user safety versus the right to repair is expected to continue and gain momentum in state legislatures. This ongoing discussion raises questions about who is responsible for ensuring the safety of consumer products and the extent to which individuals have the right to repair those products.

Furthermore, new claims related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are emerging. These claims target consumer goods manufacturers and sellers, alleging false advertising, consumer protection violations, and deceptive marketing practices.

Lastly, changes to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 may impact the use of expert testimony in federal courts. Two specific tweaks to the rule require the proponent of expert testimony to establish its admissibility by a preponderance of the evidence. Additionally, the court must find that an expert’s opinion is based on a reliable application of methodology to the facts at issue.

In summary, the trends to watch in products liability and mass torts include the potential impact of AI, the expanding use of Public Nuisance as a liability assignment tool, the ongoing debate over the right to repair, emerging PFAS claims, and changes to expert testimony in federal courts. These developments will undoubtedly shape the legal landscape in the years to come.