For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates to the contrary:
A product seller acting primarily as a wholesaler, distributor, or retailer of a product may be a "manufacturer" but only to the extent that it designs, produces, makes, fabricates, constructs, or remanufactures the product for its sale. A product seller who performs minor assembly of a product in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer shall not be deemed a manufacturer. A product seller that did not participate in the design of a product and that constructed the product in accordance with the design specifications of the claimant or another product seller shall not be deemed a manufacturer for the purposes of.
The "relevant product" under this chapter is that product or its component part or parts, which gave rise to the product liability claim.
Preamble-1981 c 27: "Tort reform in this state has for the most part been accomplished in the courts on a case-by-case basis. While this process has resulted in significant progress and the harshness of many common law doctrines has to some extent been ameliorated by decisional law, the legislature has from time to time felt it necessary to intervene to bring about needed reforms such as those contained in the 1973 comparative negligence act.
The purpose of this amendatory act is to enact further reforms in the tort law to create a fairer and more equitable distribution of liability among parties at fault.
Of particular concern is the area of tort law known as product liability law. Sharply rising premiums for product liability insurance have increased the cost of consumer and industrial goods. These increases in premiums have resulted in disincentives to industrial innovation and the development of new products. High product liability premiums may encourage product sellers and manufacturers to go without liability insurance or pass the high cost of insurance on to the consuming public in general.
It is the intent of the legislature to treat the consuming public, the product seller, the product manufacturer, and the product liability insurer in a balanced fashion in order to deal with these problems.
It is the intent of the legislature that the right of the consumer to recover for injuries sustained as a result of an unsafe product not be unduly impaired. It is further the intent of the legislature that retail businesses located primarily in the state of Washington be protected from the substantially increasing product liability insurance costs and unwarranted exposure to product liability litigation." [ 1981 c 27 § 1.]