Individual States 

ARIZONA

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk is part of comparative negligence and not a complete bar to recovery, but rather reduces claimant's recovery by his share of the fault which proximately caused the injury or death. However, where claimant has intentionally, willfully or wantonly caused or contributed to the injury or wrongful death, there is no right to comparative negligence and claimant's assumption of risk is a complete bar. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-2505 .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COMPARATIVE FAULT

Both contributory negligence and assumption of risk are part of comparative negligence, and reduce damages according to the claimant's share of the fault which proximately caused the injury or death. Contributory negligence is not a defense to a strict liability or product liability action, except for those which allege negligence. Comparative negligence is also not available to claimants who have intentionally, willfully, or wantonly caused or contributed to the injury or wrongful death. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§12-2505 and 12-2509 .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

ECONOMIC LOSS

The following 3 factors are analyzed and balanced to determine whether contract or tort law applies to a specific case:

  1. The nature of the product defect that caused the loss to the plaintiff;
    • a) The type of product that will trigger tort liability is one which is defective in a way that poses an unreasonable danger to those who use or consume it.
  2. The manner in which the loss occurred; and
    • b) Occurrence of a sudden calamity or extraordinary event such as an accident will generally trigger the invocation of tort law.
  3. The type of loss for which the plaintiff seeks redress.
    • a) Harm to person or "other property" is generally recoverable in tort.

If the defect poses a real danger of harm to person or other property, an "accident" occurs, the damage is of the type recognized as "tort damage", or if some combination of these factors preponderates, tort remedies will be available and plaintiff will be able to recover for all damages -- personal injury, property damage to other property, property damage to the product itself, and all consequential damage generally allowed in tort actions. Salt River Project Agric. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 694 P.2d 198 (Ariz.1984) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Defendants are only held severally liable for their own proportionate share of the fault except where (1) the party was acting in concert with another person, (2) the person was acting as an agent or servant to the party, or (3) the party's liability arises out of a duty created by federal employer's liability act 45 U.S.C. §51. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-2506 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Plaintiff must show by clear and convincing evidence that the party acted with "an evil hand guided by an evil mind," and hence intended to injure or was indifferent to the rights of others, consciously disregarding substantial risk of serious harm. Murcott v. Best Western Int'l., Inc., 9 P.3d 1088, 1100 (Ariz. App. Div. 1 2000) .

Punitive damages are available in contract actions regardless of whether rescissory or compensatory damages are sought. Medasys Acquisition Corp. v. SDMS, P.C., 55 P.3d 763 (Ariz. 2002) .

Punitive damages are permitted in wrongful death actions. Haralson v. Fisher Surveying, Inc., 31 P.3d 114 (Ariz. 2001) .

There must be prima facie proof of a defendant's liability for punitive damages before his wealth or financial condition may be discovered. Larriva v. Montiel, 691 P.2d 735 (Ariz. App. 1984) .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

After the court enters a judgment for plaintiff's injury or death, the defendant has a right to contribution if found jointly and severally liable. Conversely, there is no right of contribution in favor of a tortfeasor who is found to have acted intentionally, willfully, or wantonly. Note however, that plaintiff may move to recover from defendant those actual expenses which plaintiff incurred as a direct result of defendant's action for contribution. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-2506(E) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

In any product liability action, a defendant shall not be liable if the defendant proves that any of the following apply: (1) the plans, designs, labels, manufacturing processes, or inspection processes conformed with the state of the art when defendant first sold the product; (2) the proximate cause of the incident was an alteration or modification, made subsequent to time of sale by defendant, which was not reasonably foreseeable; (3) the proximate cause of the incident was use in a manner not reasonably foreseeable or contrary to express and adequate instructions or warnings, if the injured party knew or should have known of the instructions or warnings; (4) the proximate cause of the incident was the repeated consumption of a food product that is not defective and unreasonably dangerous if consumed in reasonable quantities. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-683 .

Where a manufacturer refuses to accept a tender of defense from a seller, the manufacturer must indemnify for any judgments against seller and pay reasonable attorney fees and costs, unless: (1) seller had knowledge of the defect, or (2) seller altered, modified, or installed the product in a manner not authorized or with the directions or specifications of the manufacturer, and the alteration, modification, or installation was a substantial cause of the incident. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-684(A) and (B) .

A manufacturer shall be indemnified by a seller where the seller provided the plans or specifications of the product, the plans or specifications were a substantial cause of the product's alleged defect, and the product was manufactured in compliance with the plans or specifications. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-684(C) .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Actions for personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage must be brought within two years. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §12-542 .

Actions for breach of warranty shall be brought within three years (oral) and six years (written). Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§12-543, 12-548 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

There is no statute of repose for product liability actions in Arizona.

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.