Per Oklahoma’s Uniform Jury Instruction No. 12.1 the elements of a claim for manufacturers’ products liability are:
A party claiming damages under Manufacturers’ Products Liability has the burden of proving each of the following: 1. The Defendant manufactured, sold, or leased the product in question; 2. The Defendant was in the business of manufacturing, selling, or leasing such products; 3. The product was defective and because of the defect, the product was unreasonably dangerous to a person [or to the property of a person] who uses, consumes, or might be reasonably expected to be affected by the product; 4. The product was defective at the time it was manufactured, sold, or leased by the Defendant or when the product left the Defendant’s control; 5. Plaintiff was a person who used, consumed, or could have reasonably been affected by the product; and 6. Plaintiff sustained personal injuries and/or damage to property directly caused by the defect in the product.
“A product is defective when it is not reasonably fit for the ordinary purposes for which such products are intended or may reasonably be expected to be used.” Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instruction (OUJI) No. 12.2. “A defect may arise out of the design, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, or warnings or lack thereof while the product was in the control of the Defendant.” OUJI No. 12.2. “Unreasonably dangerous means that the article must be dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user or consumer who purchased it with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.” OUJI No. 12.3.
A question that often arises is whether a warning provided by a manufacturer was sufficient to warn a person of the dangers associated with the misuse of product. To determine the adequacy of a warning, first it must be determined if there was in fact a warning. “A product that involves a risk of harm to persons or property when it is used by an ordinary user in the way that it was intended to be used or in a way reasonably anticipated by the manufacturer is defective if: 1. The product does not have an adequate warning of its dangerous characteristics and/or adequate instructions for its safe use that are sufficient to inform an ordinary user of the risk of harm; and 2. The risk of harm is not one that an ordinary user would reasonably expect.” OUJI No. 12.5. “No warnings or instructions are required if the particular danger would be apparent to an ordinary user from the nature of the product itself or from other information known to the user.” OUJI No. 12.5. If a Plaintiff contends that the warnings are inadequate a jury must decide if the warning adequately informs the ordinary users of the precautions, if any, they must take and the risk, if any, they may be exposed to during the use of the product. The warning must reasonably communicate the extent or seriousness of the harm that could result from the danger. OUJI No. 12.6. “Where an adequate warning is given, the manufacturer and distributor may reasonably assume that it will be read and that the product will be used according to the directions or instructions.” OUJI No. 12.6. “A product bearing such a warning, which is safe for use if it is followed, is not defective, nor is it unreasonably dangerous.” OUJI No. 12.6.