The problems created by mass marketing, unequal bargaining power, and hidden product hazards have necessitated major changes in products liability law during the past thirty years. Correspondingly, considerations of cost reduction, injury avoidance, and fair risk distribution are generally advanced as the policies behind the widespread acceptance gained by strict liability in the 1960's. A decade later, these considerations were applied to the problem of proof of causation faced by plaintiffs who could not identify the specific defendant who caused their injuries. A limited version of this problem had been considered earlier in the seminal case of Summers v. Tice, giving rise to the theory of alternative liability. Although considerations of cost reduction and fair distribution of risk provide a common theoretical ground, no one rule has found consistent acceptance. This Note will examine the causation problem raised by the plaintiff who cannot identify one among two or more possible manufacturer-defendants and will analyze the various approaches advanced to deal with the issue. It will then focus on the treatment of these issues in the Ohio courts. Finally, the Note will discuss the appropriateness of the Ohio approach as it relates to the goals of fair risk distribution and cost reduction.
Note, The Indeterminate Defendant in Products Liability Litigation and a Suggested Approach for Ohio, 39 Clev. St. L. Rev. 207 (1991)