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Cour de Cassation — Tort Law — Producer's liability

Date Citation Note
24.01.2006 Bull.civ. 2006 I no. 33 p. 31 First Civil Chamber, (pourvoi no. 03-19,534)  
28.11.2001 Bull. Civ. 2001 III no. 137 p. 106 00-13.559 Case SA Haironville v. A.M. Prudence

Subsequent developments
 
05.01.1999 Bull. Civ. I, no. 6, p. 3 Case Transports Norbert Dentressangle v. Thermo King

Subsequent developments
The manufacturer who gives a guarantee to a remote purchaser does not thereby enter into a contract of sale subject to the Vienna Convention.
28.04.1998 Bull. Civ. I, no. 158, p. 104 Case Mme X. v. Centre régional de transfusion sanguine

Subsequent developments
The primary victim of transfusion with infected blood is not barred from civil suit by applying to the Compensation Fund. In the light of the (unimplemented) Directive, the supplier of infected blood is strictly liable to secondary victims as well as to the primary recipients of their product.
03.03.1998 Bull. Civ. I, no. 95 p. 63 Case Scovazzo v. Les Laboratoires Léo

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Pharmaceutical companies are as liable as any other producer for dangerous defects in their products.
03.02.1998 D. 1998, 455 95-18.602 Case Brincat v. Société Val Agriet

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27.01.1998 Bull. Civ. 1998 I no. 33 p. 21 Case Royer v. Etablissements Valentin

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It is no defence to the manufacturer of a machine with a design defect that it has been authoritatively certified as safe.
16.12.1997 Bull. Civ. 1997.I. no. 373, p. 253 (95-19119) Case Sedmeo v. Alke Gas Infrarood Subsequent Development The Hague Convention on the law applicable in product liability cases applies only where the claim is non-contractual, i.e. in tort.
09.07.1996 D.1996, 610 Case Association pour la gestion du poste de transfusion sanguine v. Mme X.

Subsequent developments
The external cause which alone exonerates the supplier of a dangerously defective product (here blood) is not satisfied by the fact that the defect is undetectable nor by the fact that the authorities have not warned the public of the risk of contamination. The victim of transfusion with infected blood who has accepted an offer from the Compensation Fund in full settlement of her claim for moral damage is not barred from civil suit but cannot claim further compensation under that head.
09.07.1996 D.1996, 611 Case Consorts X v. Groupe des assurances nationals

Subsequent developments
The liability of the supplier of blood is strict and the development risks defence contained in the (unimplemented) Directive is inapplicable since it is not mandatory for member states, but optional.
20.06.1995 Bull. Civ. I no. 277, p. 192 (93-15.948) Case S.M.M.I.G. v. Beaufils

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17.01.1995 Bull. Civ. 1995 I no. 43 JCP 1995.I.3853 D.1995.350 (93-13.075) Case Planet Wattohm v. CPAM Morbihan

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09.10.1991 Bull. Civ. 1991 I no. 259 p. 171 Case Evrard v. Dimatal

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The manufacturer of a defectively designed machine remains liable to an injured claimant at fault in using it unless the fault was the sole cause of the injury.
12.07.1991 D.1991.549 Case Besse v. Protois

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11.06.1991 Bull. Civ. I, no. 201, p. 132 Case Houziaux-Verkaemer v. Société Zeebrugge

Subsequent developments
The seller’s safety obligation is not subject to the brief prescription period laid down by the Code civil for claims based on vice caché.
14.05.1991 D.1991.449 JCP 1991.II.21763 Case Baucheron v. Société Minit France

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20.03.1989 D.1989, 381 Case Société Thomson-Brandt v. Groupe des Assurances Mutuelles

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The seller’s obligation is not to supply goods which operate properly but to supply goods which are not defective and dangerous to person or property; this obligation is owed to the buyer, not to injured bystanders, who must sue in tort.
30.05.1988 Bull. Civ. 1998 II no. 240 p. 130 (86-14.325) Case Société de distribution v. Groupe des assurance mutuelles

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07.02.1986 Bull. Civ. 1986 Ass. No. 2 p. 2 (83-14.631) Case SA Produits Céramiques de l'Anjou v. SCI Asnières Normanie

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20.07.1981 JCP 1982.19848 Case Dame Pouyanne v. Société anonyme Volcker

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It is for the gardien (of the structure) of a thing which causes damage to show that the harm was due to an external force.
25.06.1980 Bull. Civ. 1980 Com. No.276 (78-13.532) Case Société Fa WH Tusveld v. SA Sodios, Le Corre

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22.11.1978 JCP 1979.19139 Case Société La Quinoléine v. Maclet

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A seller who fails to warn that the product may cause damage in certain circumstances may be guilty of a faute lourde which debars him from relying on an exclusion clause.
10.12.1975 Bull. Civ. 1975 III No. 372 p. 282 (74-12.667) Case Comptoir Tuilier du Nord v. Société Nau Frères SA

Subsequent developments