Individual States 

KANSAS

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk has not been altered by comparative fault, and remains an absolute bar to recovery. Pullen v. West, 92 P.3d 584, 592 (Kan. 2004) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

In personal injury actions, amount recoverable for noneconomic loss shall not exceed $250,000. The jury shall not be instructed on this limitation, but shall itemize the verdict to reflect the amount awarded for noneconomic loss. This section does not repeal or modify the limitations in wrongful death actions, and applies to all actions accruing on or after July 1, 1988. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-19a02 .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

In an action for personal injury or death in which claimant demands more than $150,000, evidence of collateral source benefits reasonably expected are admissible. Evidence of the cost of the collateral source is also allowed. The court shall reduce the judgment by the full amount of the net collateral source benefits. However, if the judgment has been reduced by claimant's own fault, his ability to recover against any of the defendants, or by any statutory limits on damages, then the court shall only further reduce the judgment by the amount of collateral sources which are in excess of that sum. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§60-3801 to 3807 .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

Comparative negligence of the claimant does not bar recovery as long as the claimant's negligence is less than the total causal negligence of the parties against whom recovery is sought. Instead, the liability is proportionately diminished. Comparative negligence (or comparative causation) applies to strict liability and breach of implied product warranties, but not to intentional torts or punitive damage awards. In addition, it does not apply to breach of warranty actions, unless they result in death, personal injury, or property damage. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-258a .

ECONOMIC LOSS

A commercial buyer of defective goods cannot sue in negligence or strict liability where the only injury consists of damage to the goods themselves. Koss Construction v. Caterpillar, Inc., 25 Kans.App.2d 200 (1998).

The "unreasonably dangerous" and "calamitous event" exceptions have been rejected. Thus, damage which is limited to the defective product itself is not recoverable regardless of how it occurs. Koss Construction v. Caterpillar, Inc., 25 Kans.App.2d 200 (1998).

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Abolished in comparative negligence cases. Where recovery is allowed against more than one party, each such party shall be liable in proportion to their causal negligence. However, joint and several liability still applies in intentional torts. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-258a(d) .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages must be proven by "clear and convincing" evidence of willful conduct, wanton conduct, fraud or malice. However, they are not recoverable without a verdict for compensatory damages. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3702 (c) .

Punitive damages shall not exceed the lesser of (1) defendant's highest gross annual income earned in the 5 years immediately preceding the act in question; or (2) $5,000,000. However, if the court determines that defendant's annual gross income is clearly inadequate to penalize the defendant, then the court may award up to 50 percent of the net worth of the defendant, as determined by the court. In addition, if the court finds that the profitability of the defendant's misconduct exceeds or is expected to this limitation, punitive damages may be awarded up to 1.5 times the amount of profit which the defendant gained or is expected to gain as a result of the misconduct. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3702 .

A separate proceeding is conducted to determine the amount of punitive damages awarded at which the financial condition of the defendant may be considered. Punitive damages shall not be assessed against a principal for the acts of an agent unless the principal or someone expressly empowered to do so authorized or ratified the conduct. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3702 (a) and (c).

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

Tortfeasor who intentionally caused harm has no right to contribution. Gray v. City of Kansas City, Kan., 603 F. Supp. 872 (1985) .

Provides for a nonparty defense whereby a defendant may reduce his liability by claiming that some amount of fault is attributable to a person who is not a party to the lawsuit, subject to certain conditions. Brown v. Keill, 580 P.2d 867 (1978) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

A seller is not liable for an alleged defect if it can establish that: (1) seller did not know of defect; (2) seller could not have discovered defect in the exercise of reasonable care; (3) seller is not also the manufacturer; (4) manufacturer is under the jurisdiction of the State or claimant's domicile; and (5) it is reasonably certain that a judgment against manufacturer would be satisfied. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3306 .

It is a defense that the injury-causing aspect of a product was, at the time of manufacture, in compliance with legislative or administrative regulatory safety standards for design, performance, instructions, or warnings. The product will not be deemed defective if it complied with such standards unless claimant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a reasonably prudent seller would have taken addition precautions. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3304(a) .

If the injury-causing aspect of a product was not in compliance with such standards at the time of manufacture, the product shall be deemed defective unless the product seller proves by a preponderance of the evidence that its failure to comply was a reasonably prudent course of conduct under the circumstances. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3304(b) .

If the injury-causing aspect of a product was in compliance with mandatory government contract specifications regarding design, instructions, or warnings, then that shall be an absolute defense and the product shall not be defective for those reasons. If not in compliance, the product shall be defective for that reason. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3304(c) and (d) .

In product liability actions, evidence shall not be admissible of advancements or changes in technology subsequent to the design, formulation, testing, manufacture, or sale. This applies to any new techniques in design, planning, formulating, testing, preparing, manufacturing, warnings labeling, or instructions. An exception is made where evidence is offered to impeach a witness. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3307 .

When after the occurrence of an event remedial or precautionary measures are taken, which, if taken previously would have tended to make the event less likely to occur, evidence of such subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-451 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death actions shall be brought within two years. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-513 .

Breach of warranty actions shall be brought within four years. Kan. Stat. Ann. §84-2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

Where harm is caused more than ten years after time of delivery, a presumption arises in favor of a product seller that the product's useful safe life had expired. This presumption can be rebutted by "clear and convincing" evidence. This period can be extended if the seller expressly warrants that the useful safe life is longer than ten years. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3303(a)(1) and (b)(2)(A) .

The ten-year period of repose does not apply where the seller intentionally misrepresents facts about its product, or fraudulently conceals information about it, and that conduct was a substantial cause of the claimant's harm. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3303(b)(2)(B) .

The ten-year period of repose does not apply where: (1) the harm was caused by prolonged exposure to a defective product; (2) the injury-causing aspect of the product that existed at the time of delivery was not discoverable by a reasonably prudent person until more than ten years after the time of delivery; or (3) the harm caused within ten years after the time of delivery, did not manifest itself until after that time. Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-3303(b)(2)(D) .

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.