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Ordinary negligence, defined generally as the failure to exercise the care of a reasonably prudent man, is not a proper defense to strict liability actions. Allowing ordinary negligence to bar strict liability would defeat the purposes for which the theory of strict liability was created. The manufacturer is held strictly liable because he can more easily spread the risk of loss caused by his products, and because to do so encourages him to take greater care in designing and manufacturing his products.


Practically all courts have never allowed contributory negligence as a defense to conduct amounting to gross negligence, or to conduct which is culpable regardless of the care exercised by the defendant.


Generally, a plaintiff whose ordinary negligence proximately causes the injury cannot recover from an ordinarily negligent defendant. However, ordinary negligence on the part of the plaintiff is not a defense to the gross negligence of the defendant. In general, recovery is not barred whenever the defendant's negligence is of a 'higher degree' than that of the plaintiff. The conduct giving rise to strict products liability is likewise not based upon negligence, and the defendant may be liable without proof of a lack of care. ...

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