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MODULE C - Legitimate

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  1. MODULE C - LEGAL SUBMODULES C1. Conflict Of Interest/Code Of Ethics C2. Antitrust C3. Torts C4. Intellectual Property C5. Speaking For The Society

  2. REVISIONS DATE SLIDE CHANGE 7/7/08 Training module revised in its entirety. ASME C&S Training Module C3

  3. C3. Torts

  4. OBJECTIVES This submodule will • Describe the potential tort issues that can arise in standards development and conformity assessment activities • Provide guidance in how to avoid tort claims ASME C&S Training Module C3

  5. AGENDA • What is a Tort? • Potential Tort Issues in Standards Development • Potential Tort Issues in Conformity Assessment • Potential Tort Issues in the Implementation of New Technology ASME C&S Training Module C3

  6. I. WHAT IS A TORT? ASME C&S Training Module C3

  7. WHAT IS A TORT? • Definition • Civil wrongs recognized as grounds for a lawsuit filed by an injured party • Example • “Negligence” resulting in harm to persons or property ASME C&S Training Module C3

  8. NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS • Negligence Claims • Plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant • Owed a duty of care • Breached or failed to discharge duty • Breach of duty was direct or proximate cause of injury to plaintiff’s person or property • Damages ASME C&S Training Module C3

  9. TORT LAW AND ASME • Activities where Potential Tort Claims Could Arise • Promulgating voluntary codes and standards • Administering conformity assessment programs ASME C&S Training Module C3

  10. II. POTENTIAL TORT ISSUES IN STANDARDS DEVELOPMENT ASME C&S Training Module C3

  11. NEGLIGENT STANDARDS DEVELOPMENT CLAIMS • An organization which renders a service that is necessary to protect a third person or thing is potentially liable for any harm resulting from its failure to take reasonable care in performing the service. • Analysis applies whether the undertaking was gratuitous or for consideration. ASME C&S Training Module C3

  12. ALLEGED NEGLIGENCE IN THE PREPARATION OR DEVELOPMENT OF A STANDARD • Claim would allege that ASME failed to take reasonable care in promulgating a code or Standard • Cases imposing liability have generally involved trade associations which are different from ASME. • Nonetheless, a resourceful plaintiff will use the trade association cases to support a claim against ASME ASME C&S Training Module C3

  13. AVOIDING CLAIMS • Guidelines • Members should exercise reasonable care by: • Carefully weighing all views • Using their best professional judgment • Objective, documented technical basis for the standard or code ASME C&S Training Module C3

  14. III. POTENTIAL TORT ISSUES ARISING OUT OF CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES ASME C&S Training Module C3

  15. NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATIONIN CONNECTION WITH ASMEPRODUCT CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS • Party must demonstrate: • either that there was a failure to exercise reasonable care in awarding a Certificate of Authorization • or that inadequate care was taken in overseeing the use of a code stamp ASME C&S Training Module C3

  16. NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATIONIN CONNECTION WITH ASMEPRODUCT CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS • Issues • The presence of an ASME symbol may be misinterpreted as ASME’s representation that the stamped item meets the ASME standard. • The actual certification of a product’s compliance is made by the ASME-certified manufacturer. • Misinterpretation is likely where others rely on the stamp as an assurance of code compliance. ASME C&S Training Module C3

  17. AVOIDING CLAIMS • Guidelines • Reviews and surveys must be carried out by competent and qualified personnel. • ASME must act promptly, within the limits of due process, upon the receipt of a report of non-conformance. ASME C&S Training Module C3

  18. IV. POTENTIAL TORT ISSUES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY ASME C&S Training Module C3

  19. IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY • Potential Legal Claims Could Arise • If new safety-enhancing technology is introduced but there is a delay in revision to the standard • New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Snyder vs. American Association of Blood Banks ASME C&S Training Module C3

  20. IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY(cont’d) • Potential liability (cont’d) • Suit against the American Association of Blood Banks (“AABB”) • AABB is a trade organization • The allegation in the lawsuit was that the AABB failed to change a standard for blood donations • The litigation centered on when reliable technology was available to screen blood for the presence of HIV • AABB was held responsible because it failed to incorporate new technology for HIV screening into its standards ASME C&S Training Module C3

  21. IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY (cont’d) Meneely v. S.R. Smith, Inc. (Washington Court of Appeals 2002) • Lawsuit against National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) arising out of a 1991 swimming pool accident • 16 year old 6 foot 4 inch boy broke his neck on a “transition slope” diving off a diving board into a pool. • Pool was constructed in 1965. Diving board was replaced in 1974. • Label on diving board stated that it was designed for use with NSPI Type II pools. Allegation was that by the early 1970’s NSPI was aware of risks associated with this type of diving board. • NSPI published the only comprehensive set of pool safety standards. • Court held that by publishing safety standards NSPI voluntarily assumed a duty to warn of risks associated with this type of diving board. ASME C&S Training Module C3

  22. AVOIDING CLAIMS • Guidelines • Take advantage of advances in technology • Streamline the standards development process so that new technology can be implemented ASME C&S Training Module C3

  23. CLOSING REMARKS • Things to keep in mind • Operation of standards development process and certification programs involves risk • Constant vigilance is required on the part of all individuals involved in the process • Direct questions to ASME Committee officers or staff ASME C&S Training Module C3

  24. SUMMARY • What is a Tort? • Potential Tort Issues in Standards Development • Potential Tort Issues in Conformity Assessment • Potential Tort Problems in the Timely Implementation of New Technology ASME C&S Training Module C3

  25. REFERENCES Legal Implications of Codes and Standards Activities: “A Guide to Tort Compliance for ASME Volunteer and Staff Members,” issued by Codes and Standards Board of Directors ASME C&S Training Module C3