Product Liability Law

Do you feel that you have a Product Liability claim? Get in touch with us and let us help you make sense of it.

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Business & Professions Code section 17500, the False Advertising Act, prohibits statements “concerning . . . real or personal property or services . . . concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance of this position thereof, which is untrue or misleading, and which is known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading . . . .” It is not necessary under Section 17500 to establish actual deception, reasonable reliance or damage. “It is necessary only to show that members of the public are likely to be deceived.”

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What about good faith and fair dealing vs. bad faith?

“A covenant of good faith and fair dealing is implied in every insurance” policy. (Frommoethelydo v. Fire Ins. Exch., 1986) California law has long recognized that when an insurance carrier breaches its duties under its insurance policy, it may be liable not only for breach of contract, but also for the tort of bad faith. As one court long ago explained:

In every insurance policy, there is implied by law a covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This implied obligation requires an insurer to deal in good faith and fairly with its insured in handling an insured’s claim against it. Breach of this duty is a tort.

“Bad faith” exists if a carrier unreasonably withholds without proper cause benefits due under a policy. Bad faith does not require malicious or intentional misconduct, but only conduct that violates community standards of decency, fairness, or reasonableness.

A carrier must give the interests of the insured at least as much consideration as it gives its own interests. If it does not, then its conduct “may not only breach the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing but also can be treated for tort purposes as a basis for exemplary damages where it occurs in a context of malice, fraud, or oppression.” (Betts v. Allstate Ins. Co., 1984)

Excess insurance carriers also owe a duty of good faith and fair dealing to their insureds. In fact, a California court of appeal expressly has held that an excess carrier may be liable for bad faith.

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