Client Alert: Texas Supreme Court: Design Defect Can Be a Question of Law

Under Texas law, a product is unreasonably dangerous when its risks outweigh its utility.  Whether a design defect renders a product unreasonably dangerous is ordinarily a question for the jury—the jury is tasked with balancing the utility of a product against the risks involved in its use to determine whether the product is unreasonably dangerous.  In its opinion last week in Genie Industries, Inc. v. Matak, the Texas Supreme Court found that in some circumstances, this becomes a question of law for the court.  The Texas Supreme Court reversed a significant jury award in a wrongful death case against a manufacturer, and rendered judgment in favor of the manufacturer.