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13-21-401. Definitions


As used in this part 4, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Manufacturer means a person or entity who designs, assembles, fabricates, produces, constructs, or otherwise prepares a product or a component part of a product prior to the sale of the product to a user or consumer. The term includes any seller who has actual knowledge of a defect in a product or a seller of a product who creates and furnishes a manufacturer with specifications relevant to the alleged defect for producing the product or who otherwise exercises some significant control over all or a portion of the manufacturing process or who alters or modifies a product in any significant manner after the product comes into his possession and before it is sold to the ultimate user or consumer. The term also includes any seller of a product who is owned in whole or significant part by the manufacturer or who owns, in whole or significant part, the manufacturer. A seller not otherwise a manufacturer shall not be deemed to be a manufacturer merely because he places or has placed a private label on a product if he did not otherwise specify how the product shall be produced or control, in some significant manner, the manufacturing process of the product and the seller discloses who the actual manufacturer is.

(2) Product liability action means any action brought against a manufacturer or seller of a product, regardless of the substantive legal theory or theories upon which the action is brought, for or on account of personal injury, death, or property damage caused by or resulting from the manufacture, construction, design, formula, installation, preparation, assembly, testing, packaging, labeling, or sale of any product, or the failure to warn or protect against a danger or hazard in the use, misuse, or unintended use of any product, or the failure to provide proper instructions for the use of any product.

(3) Seller means any individual or entity, including a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, or retailer, who is engaged in the business of selling or leasing any product for resale, use, or consumption.


Source: L. 77: Entire part added, p. 820, 2, effective July 1.


Law reviews: For article, 1988 Update on Colorado Tort Reform Legislation Part II, see 17 Colo. Law. 1949 ; for article, Duty of Property Owners and Operators to Protect Patrons from Crime, see 17 Colo. Law. 2143 (1988); for a discussion of Tenth Circuit decisions dealing with torts, see 67 Den. U. L. Rev. 779 (1990); for article, A Survey of the Law of Colorado Nonprofit Entities, see 27 Colo. Law. 5 (April 1998).

Cross references: For limitation of actions against manufacturers, sellers, or lessors, see 13-80-106 and 13-80-107.

Law reviews: For article, The Apportionment of Tort Responsibility, see 14 Colo. Law. 741 (1985); for article, Torts, which discusses Tenth Circuit decisions dealing with product liability actions, see 62 Den. U. L. Rev. 357 (1985); for article, Product Liability, see 16 Colo. Law. 474 (1987); for article, Permanent Solution for Product Liability Crises: Uniform Federal Tort Law Standards, see 64 Den. U. L. Rev. 685 (1988); for article, Our Product Liability System: An Efficient Solution to a Complex Problem, see 64 Den. U. L. Rev. 703 (1988); for article, Recovering Asbestos Abatement Costs in Tort Actions, see 19 Colo. Law. 659 (1990); for article, Strict Product Liability and Comparative Fault in Colorado, see 19 Colo. Law. 2081 (1990); for article, Preemption of State Tort Claims Under The Medical Device Amendments, see 24 Colo. Law. 2217 (1995).


For liability of successor corporations under the Colorado products liability act, see Ruiz v. ExCello Corp., 653 P.2d 415 (Colo. App. 1982); Florum v. Elliott Mfg. Co., 629 F. Supp. 1145 (D. Colo. 1986), affd in part and revd in part, 867 F.2d 570 (10th Cir.), rehg denied, 879 F.2d 801 (10th Cir. 1989).

By negative implication, the statute allows a seller who places a private label on a product without disclosing the actual manufacturer to be held liable as a manufacturer. Yoder v. Honeywell, Inc., 104 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 812, 118 S. Ct. 55, 139 L. Ed. 2d 19 (1997); Long v. United States Brass Corp., 333 F. Supp. 2d 999 (D. Colo. 2004); Heinrich v. Master Craft Engg, Inc., 131 F. Supp. 3d 1137 (D. Colo. 2015).

An injured party seeking to assert the apparent manufacturer doctrine need not show that he or she was actually misled, deceived, or suffered some unfairness or injustice related to the sellers labeling of the product in addition to proving that the seller placed a private label on a product and did not disclose the identity of the actual manufacturer. Heinrich v. Master Craft Engg, Inc., 131 F. Supp. 3d 1137 (D. Colo. 2015).

To hold a seller liable as a manufacturer, the plaintiff must prove that the seller had both actual knowledge of the design and use of the final product and actual knowledge that the final product was unreasonably dangerous without a warning. Bond v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co., 868 P.2d 1114 (Colo. App. 1993).

Liability for injuries caused by a product will not be imputed to a corporation that provides the trademark but has no role in the manufacturing process or the sale of the product. Yoder v. Honeywell, Inc., 900 F. Supp. 240 (D. Colo. 1995), affd, 104 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 812, 118 S. Ct. 55, 139 L. Ed. 2d 19 (1997).

Applied in Roberts v. May, 41 Colo. App. 82, 583 P.2d 305 (1978); Persichini v. Brad Ragan, Inc., 735 P.2d 168 (Colo. 1987); Rice v. Armstrong World Indus., Inc., 653 F. Supp. 763 (D. Colo. 1987).