The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Education Research Foundation has commissioned a study on product liability exposure as it affects electrical distributors and installers in today’s global marketplace. The study, “Product Liability Exposure: How to Manage and Mitigate the Risks in Today’s Global Market,” is a part of growing repository of research on strategic electrical industry issues.

Scheduled to be completed in early fall 2007, the study will address potential risks brought on by increased global sourcing. Examples of possible risks include counterfeit products, poor performance to specification and private-label products.

The research will assess the level of risk to distributors and installers, review recent legal cases in the industry, compare liability laws between individual states and identify the protections available. It also will highlight industry best practices.

“Historically, electrical distributors and installers had developed relationships with a limited number of well-known manufacturers who stood behind their products,” said John Selldorff, president and CEO of Legrand North America and the research project’s task force chair. “However, today’s global marketplace has increased the amount of electrical products being sourced from manufacturers outside the United States, from unknown manufacturers and through import brokers. The application and enforcement of product liability is no longer as clear as it once was.”

NAED has contracted with Bernie Heinze, attorney with the Sequent Insurance Group, to conduct the study. Heinze has represented and defended electrical utilities, distributors, suppliers, installers and component part manufacturers in product liability and contract matters.

More than 41 electrical distributors and manufacturers have pledged more than $7.5 million since the endowment’s creation in 2003.  EC