Did you know that 10 years after a product is made, it is no longer dangerous in Ohio? Few! What a relief! I feel much safer now.
Is this some miraculous feat of magic that automatically renders products safe – anything from an industrial punch press in a factory to the toaster in your kitchen – after the specified time of 10 years?
On the contrary, it is merely a feat of legal maneuvering. The General Assembly passed a law a while back called a statute of repose. Statutes of repose start the clock ticking for when you can bring a case when the product is made, whether or not you even know of the defect yet. These are different from statutes of limitations, which only start the clock running once you have been injured or at least know that something is wrong. Because statutes of repose can cut off your right to bring a case before you even know you have a case, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional.
But, suprisingly, when the General Assembly again passed the same law in 2005, this time the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the statute of repose! This does nothing to make products safer, protect Ohioans, or encourage manufacturers to design safer products. In fact, statutes of repose create an incentive to only make products safe for the first 10 years. After that, no matter how dangerous the design and no matter how bad the manufacture was, the manufacturer is not responsible for any harm caused by their product in Ohio.
So much for extended warranties!
What does this mean to you?