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Legal & Ethical Considerations

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Legal & Ethical Considerations

In an economy that is constantly changing, and demand continually rising, companies need to be aware of their legal and ethical obligations to their consumers. Companies are liable in making sure their products are as safe as possible and an obligation to report any dangers that might exist. Product liability, “Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain), an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner (at the bottom of the chain). Products containing inherent defects that cause harm to a consumer of the product, or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc., are the subjects of products liability suits.” If companies act in an ethical manner, consumers can find recalls, due to product liability, on the US Consumer Product Safety Commissions. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has recall reports on a daily basis from an array of different companies. Some of the current recalls are Bosch security systems because of fire alarm failure, RSI, a medicine cabinets exclusively sold at The Home Depot because of possible hazard due to the mirror or its back panel possibly separating or falling out, and Under Armour, for a possible choking hazards in their infant sports jersey kit. All these companies made the correct decision in reporting a possible hazard with their product. Currently, none of those products had resulted in hazard before they were reported. Unfortunately, not all companies take the ethical approach. As of December 14, 2013, The New York Times reports, “Toyota Seeks a Settlement for Sudden Acceleration Cases” The cases for acceleration problems in the Toyota vehicle line have been on going since 2005 when one woman was kill and another injured. An Oklahoma jury concluded that the company acted with “reckless disregard” knowing they had had reports of problems in their cars. These cases have been on going with federal and state lawsuits for sometime now. “I think Toyota believed that the Oklahoma case exposed the company to much greater liability than was previously thought,” said Carl Tobias, a professor who specializes in product liability at the University of Richmond School of Law. The New York Times reports, “The negotiations could put an end to a four-year process that has both hurt Toyota financially and dealt a blow to its reputation for quality. In July, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by vehicle owners who suffered financial losses.” In 2009, Toyota decided to take the proper approach and start recalling more than 11 million of their vehicles for their floor mates causing the accelerator to stick. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there that overlook the possibility that their product may cause harm on their consumer. Companies have an legal and ethical obligation to keep their consumer safe. Sometimes things are overlooked and mistakes happen, we are human, not everyone and everything will ever be “perfect” but companies need to reports problems, it could possibly save a life or two.

References
Products liability | LII / Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2014.
TROP, J. (2013, December 13). Toyota Seeks a Settlement for Sudden Acceleration Cases - NYTimes.com. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
“Latest Recalls.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. N.p., 16 Jan. 2014 Web.
19 Jan. 2014.…...

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