Is Imposing Strict Liability for Defective Product If There Is No Participatory Connection for Its Personal Profit Possible ?
Are All Parties who Play an Integral Role in the Marketing Enterprise of an Allegedly Defective Product and Derive Profit Liable Under the Doctrine of Strict Liability ?
In Bittler v. White & Co., 203 Ill. App. 3d 26, 29-30, 560 N.E.2d 979, 148 Ill. Dec. 382 (1990), it was held, "Even parties who are not within the actual chain of distribution, but who play an integral role in the marketing enterprise of an allegedly defective product and participate in the profits derived from placing the product into the stream of commerce, are held liable under the doctrine of strict liability."
Bittler pointed out that one of the public policy rationales which justifies imposing strict liability on manufacturers, as well as sellers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, and even lessors, is based on the fact that these entities, as parts of the chain of distribution, are involved in and reap a profit from the placement of the allegedly defective product into the stream of commerce. 203 Ill. App. 3d at 29.
Bittler held that the imposition of strict liability hinges on whether the party in question has any participatory connection for its personal profit or other benefit with the injury-producing product and with the enterprise that created consumer demand for and reliance upon the product. 203 Ill. App. 3d at 30.