Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a product liability lawsuit discussing when, if ever, another state’s statute of repose applies. The case presents an interesting issue for Maryland product liability plaintiffs because although Maryland law does apply other state’s statutes of repose in some circumstances, courts will not do so if the case is brought by a Maryland resident.
The Facts of the Case
In 2012, the plaintiff’s Ford Escape caught fire while parked in her garage. The fire spread to her home, and she was injured as she attempted to flee the fire. The plaintiff filed a product liability case against Ford in federal court. The vehicle was manufactured in 2001 in Missouri, and first sold later that year. The plaintiff lived in Oregon.
Oregon’s statute of repose requires all cases to be brought by the later of:
- Ten years from the time when the vehicle was manufactured, or
- “The expiration of any statute of repose for an equivalent civil action in the state in which the product was manufactured.”
Missouri, the state where the vehicle was manufactured, did not have a statute of repose. Thus, there was a question as to what, if any, statute of repose applied to the plaintiff’s case.