Lawing vs. Trinity Manufacturing and Matrix Outsourcing

Lawing vs. Trinity Manufacturing and Matrix Outsourcing, Opn. No. 5166, S.C. App., Filed Aug. 21, 2013. (Product liability case. Court reversed grant of summary judgment to defendants, granting new trial to Plaintiff Lawing, holding that Lawing, who was an employee in a pipe rack cutting pipe causing sparks to fall upon the product at issue, plastic bags of sodium bromate, a highly flammable combination which caused an explosion, was a “user or consumer” of the product as defined under S.C. Product Liability Act and entitled to bring strict product liability claim. Further, that the sophisticated user doctrine is the law of S.C., and was not preempted by the federal OSHA law which required the bags to be marked as hazardous materials. Despite the jury’s finding that the bags were not marked as required by federal law, the sophisticated user doctrine will allow the defendants on retrial to argue to the jury that based on the doctrine, (relying on employer to pass along warnings to employees) it’s conduct of violating federal law was reasonable.