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David Ferrera and Robyn Maguire Analyze How 3-D Printing Leaps Ahead of Product Liability Law in Bloomberg BNA

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09.28.2016

David Ferrera, a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department and chair of the firm’s Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation practice group, and Robyn Maguire, partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation and Business Litigation practice groups, commented on the ramifications of 3-D printing in terms of product liability law in Bloomberg BNA. The article, “3-D Printing Leaps Ahead of Product Liability Law,” focuses on how strict liability may be difficult to apply in cases concerning 3-D printed products due to the unique technology and multiple actors being involved in production.

In the article, David points out that 3-D printing is a brand new technology and caselaw is still evolving. According to David, even when all the parties in the process are doing all they can to avoid problems, 3-D printing carries risks—especially as guidance and case law on the technology continues to evolve. “You have to continue forward and go on with your business,” he said. Robyn notes that another major factor is that 3-D printing lets manufacturers create custom products that may be harder to make with traditional manufacturing methods; for example, orthopaedic manufacturers may be able to 3-D print prosthetic implants to custom fit a patient’s anatomy. According to Robyn, such specificity has its benefits, but it creates another potential complication for liability, and ensuring the soundness of products, because manufacturing defects may be harder to detect when every 3-D printed object is slightly different.

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