Essay on Advanced Torts

Submitted By ddesa123
Words: 9849
Pages: 40

Products Liability It is the PRODUCT that is so very, very important in these cases. If you don't have the product= problem

• All started with Mcpherson v. Buick: first case of negligence in the country, expanding to other products. Stated that you do NOT need privity to make a claim, can rely on negligence. ○ Prior Law from England was that to hold seller's liable for negligence would carry "absurd results" ○ Brought action against Buick motor company for negligent wheel house- early 1900's § This was during the time of mass production ○ Question? Can an action be brought against a manufacturer for a failure to inspect a part properly? Cardozo Opinion- Says "YES" negligence can be used as a claim against a manufacturer if a product was defective and the manufacturer should have known of the defect ○ Negligence became a claim that could be made against a manufacturer due to problems in industry in those days. ○ Any number of claims could happen in a product: negligent quality control, post production testing and inspection, negligent dist., sale, etc. ○ Today: Negligence is STILL a very big theory in product liability. MAJOR theory of product liability- BECAUSE if you can prove negligence, you can ALSO get to punitive damages- because it is how the manufacturer or seller ACTS. The seller must act reasonably. The question is whether the actions were reasonable under the circumstances. You must act with reasonable care. § To get to punitive damages: □ Willful & Wanton Disregard for the public ® These used to be a MAJOR slap to manufacturers, now punitive damages have been limited by the legislature § Negligence is a good way to get to something juror's get. Juror's understand negligence and then understand how to get to punitive damages ○ The first real theory of products liability. Mcpherson caught on throughout the whole country. Cases started to become decided on a warranty basis, due to the fact that it was often hard to get to documents in old injuries and lawyers were trying to hide cases ○ Started to look at breach of warranty as a claim. Looked to old british sales law, and started to develop warranties. If you went to a food from a restaurant- you had a warranty of wholesomeness, if you rented an apartment you had a warranty of habitability. These warranties started to become prevalent. ○ Then it was codified in the UCC. It became a place to rely on for people that got defective products, as well as a place to rely on. Example: § If the seller made an express warranty- then you could rely on it. NY then expanded these ideas to include § Implied warranties: □ Ex: if there is a seller, and the seller sells something that you buy than you are entitled to a "warrant of merchantability": the product is just as good as a product can be on an average level. If it's a toaster- it will toast □ And "warranty of fitness for a particular purpose"- average product, but something that is fit for the purpose that you will rely on. It must be during the course of business (they must sell you something that they hold out as a regular sale)(can't be a casual sale, must be something usual and customary in business) ○ States view: states looked at warranties, realizing negligence was difficult to prove, so they said "alright lets let the warranty attach to a product defect" ○ Henningsen Case: § Court said: a buyer can rely on a breach of warranty, and SO can someone in the buyers family. (NJ supreme court). § The fact that either a user, someone in the vehicle or a family member can bring suit, expands breach of warranty AND allows for additional members to bring suit § Disclaimer Case: the company gave an express warranty, AND all other warranties were disclaimed □ Court said: this transaction IS NOT fair. All of the manufacturers were using the same language. They had banded together and banned breach of warranty. The court