Illinois Distributors and Sellers: How to Escape a Strict Liability Action

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September 26, 2014
Michael McGowan
SmithAmundsen

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The Illinois Distributor Statute (section 2-621 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure), also known as the “seller’s exception,” allows for a non-manufacturing defendant in a strict products liability action to be dismissed from the action if it certifies the correct identity of the product manufacturer that allegedly caused the injury. When a defendant complies with the requirements of the seller’s exception, its dismissal from a strict liability action is mandatory unless one of three exceptions applies:

It is also important to note that the seller’s exception only applies to strict liability actions. It does not apply to claims of negligence, breaches of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or implied warranty of merchantability.

A tip for sellers and distributors: keep records in order to easily identify the true manufacturer.