Economic Loss is Not Available in Oregon in Strict Product Liability Cases
The recovery of economic loss such as lost profits or lost sales is not recoverable in Oregon in product liability actions where strict liability is alleged. In Brown v. Western Farmers Assoc., 268 Or 470, 480 (1974), the Oregon Supreme Court held that strict product liability was not designed or intended to offer a remedy for such commercial aspirations as sales and profits. Oregon is a physical injury state and the Oregon appellate courts have uniformly held that strict liability is not a remedy for purely economic loss in the absence of a physical injury to persons or property. Russell v. Deere & Co., 186 Or App 78, 84-85 (2003).
Lost Income to a Spouse Who Cares for an Injured Spouse is Not Recoverable as Part of a Loss of Consortium Claim in a Product Liability Action
It should also be noted that a spouse is not entitled to recover for lost income sustained as a result of having to care for her injured spouse as part of a claim for loss of consortium. Axen v. American Home Products Corp., 158 Or App 292, 309-311, adh’d to on recons, 160 Or App 19 (1999). In Axen, a husband and wife brought a strict product liability claim for injuries to the husband allegedly caused by a prescription drug. The husband and wife alleged that the husband’s use of the drug Cordarone caused a loss of vision. The wife argued that she was forced to take an early retirement in order to care for her husband and as a result, lost retirement benefits of $436,392.00. The jury awarded the wife nearly one million dollars for loss of consortium. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the wife’s award of economic damages. The court stated it would adhere to the “traditional rule” that lost income is not a proper subject of a damage award for loss of consortium. Id. at 311.