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:
- When a seller exercised some significant control over the design or manufacture of the product;
- When the seller had knowledge of the product’s defect which led to an injury;
- Or when the seller actually created the product’s defect which caused the injury.
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.