August 11, 2022

T-Break

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In review: the products liability framework in Puerto Rico

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Introduction to the products liability framework

Puerto Rico’s legal method is distinctive among the US jurisdictions. As a former colony of the Kingdom of Spain, it attracts intensely on the civil regulation custom. The Civil Code is the essential source of legislation in quite a few regions of personal legislation, like tort law.2 Puerto Rican courts routinely rely on 3 resources of law: created legislation, judicial thoughts and the perform of tratadistas (treatise writers). The treatise writers are students who author specific commentaries on the civil legislation, just like scholars who analyse the popular law.3

Even so, owing to Puerto Rico’s connection with the United States, which commenced with the 1898 Treaty of Paris,4 typical legislation has closely motivated local laws, judicial thoughts and authorized commentary.5 Puerto Rico’s process is consequently a combination of Spanish civil law, US widespread law and US-fashion constitutional and procedural legislation. As the federal district court in Puerto Rico when reported, ‘Puerto Rico is the beneficiary of two terrific legal units. Out of the conversation and synthesis of these programs, but with out eclipsing or banning one or the other, a new Derecho Puertorriqueño can and does emerge’.6

Solution legal responsibility is an place heavily motivated by prevalent legislation. For lots of many years, the doctrine of demanding product legal responsibility could not be observed in the Civil Code7 so, to ‘fill a gap in our entire body of laws’8 the Supreme Courtroom of Puerto Rico incorporated the principle of rigorous product or service legal responsibility below the guise of Article 1802 of the Civil Code of 1930, Puerto Rico’s general tort provision.9

Nevertheless, on 1 June 2020, right after several years of considerable get the job done, a new Civil Code was authorised that replaced the Civil Code of 1930.10 The new Civil Code came into outcome on 28 November 2020. The Supreme Court experienced extensive urged that implementation of laws in the space of product liability was essential,11 but the simply call fell mostly on deaf ears till the new Civil Code. This Code contains provisions on item liability. It has also been amended and has removed a lot laws involved in the former Civil Code.

Regulatory oversight

Like the federal authorities and the states of the Union, Puerto Rico has administrative bodies with regulatory, adjudicatory and enforcement authority more than matters linked to products protection. These consist of:

  1. the Office of Purchaser Affairs, whose primary goal is to enforce regulation directed at shielding customer rights, restrain inflation and oversee rates on customer goods and products and services12
  2. the Section of All-natural and Environmental Resources, which, amongst other factors, is billed with employing Puerto Rico’s constitutional and statutory public coverage on environmental matters13 and, as these kinds of, has regulatory and enforcement electricity about products and company rules to control contamination and pollution and
  3. the Occupational Security and Overall health Administration of the Puerto Rico Section of Labor, which enacts and enforces workplace security restrictions.14

Puerto Rico can, and does, resort to the courts in the training of its parens patriae authority to search for damages, including in products legal responsibility cases.15