Section 6-5-501

Definitions.

The following definitions are applicable in this division:

(1) ORIGINAL SELLER. Any person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, or other legal or business entity, which in the course of business or as an incident to business, sells or otherwise distributes a manufactured product (a) prior to or (b) at the time the manufactured product is first put to use by any person or business entity who did not acquire the manufactured product for either resale or other distribution in its unused condition or for incorporation as a component part in a manufactured product which is to be sold or otherwise distributed in its unused condition.

(2) PRODUCT LIABILITY ACTION. Any action brought by a natural person for personal injury, death, or property damage caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formula, preparation, assembly, installation, testing, warnings, instructions, marketing, packaging, or labeling of a manufactured product when such action is based upon (a) negligence, (b) innocent or negligent misrepresentation, (c) the manufacturer's liability doctrine, (d) the Alabama extended manufacturer's liability doctrine, as it exists or is hereafter construed or modified, (e) breach of any implied warranty, or (f) breach of any oral express warranty and no other. A product liability action does not include an action for contribution or indemnity.

a. No product liability action may be asserted or may be provided a claim for relief against any distributor, wholesaler, dealer, retailer, or seller of a product, or against an individual or business entity using a product in the production or delivery of its products or services (collectively referred to as the distributor) unless any of the following apply:

1. The distributor is also the manufacturer or assembler of the final product and such act is causally related to the product's defective condition.

2. The distributor exercised substantial control over the design, testing, manufacture, packaging, or labeling of the product and such act is causally related to the product's condition.

3. The distributor altered or modified the product, and the alteration or modification was a substantial factor in causing the harm for which recovery of damages is sought.

4. It is the intent of this subsection to protect distributors who are merely conduits of a product. This subsection is not intended to protect distributors from independent acts unrelated to the product design or manufacture, such as independent acts of negligence, wantonness, warranty violations, or fraud.

b. Notwithstanding paragraph a., if a claimant is unable, despite a good faith exercise of due diligence, to identify the manufacturer of an allegedly defective and unreasonably dangerous product, a product liability action may be brought against a distributor, wholesaler, dealer, retailer, or seller of a product, or against the individual or business entity using a product in the production or delivery of its products or services. The claimant shall provide an affidavit certifying that the claimant, or the attorney therefor, has in good faith exercised due diligence and has been unable to identify the manufacturer of the product in question.

c. In a product liability action brought pursuant to paragraph b., against a distributor, wholesaler, dealer, retailer, or seller of a product, or against the individual or business entity using a product in the production or delivery of its products or services, the party, upon answering or otherwise pleading, may file an affidavit certifying the correct identity of the manufacturer of the product that allegedly caused the claimant's injury. Once the claimant has received an affidavit, the claimant shall exercise due diligence to file an action and obtain jurisdiction over the manufacturer. Once the claimant has commenced an action against the manufacturer, and the manufacturer has or is required to have answered or otherwise pleaded, the claimant shall voluntarily dismiss all claims against any distributor, wholesaler, dealer, retailer, or seller of the product in question, or against the individual or business entity using a product in the production or delivery of its products or services, unless the claimant can identify prima facie evidence that the requirements of paragraph a. for maintaining a product liability action against such a party are satisfied.

(3) The definitions used herein are to be used for purposes of this division and are not to be construed to expand or limit the status of the common or statutory law except as expressly modified by the provisions of this division.

(Acts 1979, No. 79-468, p. 855, §2; Act 2011-627, p. 1481, §1.)