Bylsma v. R.C. Willey, 2017 UT 85 (Dec. 1, 2017).

Dec 1, 2017

In this product liability case, the supreme court rejected the “passive retailer” immunity doctrine of Sanns v. Butterfield Ford, 2004 UT App 203, 94 P.3d 301, as a misreading of the Liability Reform Act. It held that, because the Act preserves the doctrine of strict liability, all parties in the product’s chain of distribution remain strictly liable for sale of a dangerously defective product. To prevent total fault from exceeding 100%, the court held that fault should be allocated on the basis of duty. Since all strictly liable parties have breached the same duty, they should be treated as a single unit for purposes of fault apportionment. The passive retailer then has an implied indemnity claim against the manufacturer for any amount it might be required to pay under the strict liability claim.