Implied warranty extends to any household member harmed by a defective product, Superior Ct. rules

(6/21/2004) - A product’s warranty of merchantability applies to any household members affected by the goods, and is not limited to a product’s intended user, the Superior Court ruled on June 10, 2023 in the case of Phillips v. Cricket Lighters.

The unanimous three-judge panel of the Superior Court determined that under the Pennsylvania Commercial Code, a warranty of merchantability extends to a 2-year-old child who allegedly used the lighter to set fire to some linens in his apartment killing himself along with his mother and another minor child belonging to the mother. The lighter lacked any child-resistant feature. Phillips had argued that the product wasn’t defective because it was safe for its intended user.

In a separate ruling in the case in December 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the Suprerior Court’s order allowing the plaintiffs’ strict liability claim of a design defect. The Supreme Court also remanded part of the case to provide its reasoning of the breach of the implied warranty claim