Bentley Hedges Travel
Ava and her
daughter Gwinn were taking a shuttle bus to the airport.
ran a red light and
collided with other vehicles in the intersection.
both injured, and Ava died a few days later.
There was no set belts,
inadequate handholds, an no secured luggage compartments.
Suit 1 -
Gwinn filed her own suit.
Bentley and the driver of the bus.
alleging that it had distributed and sold a
dangerous shuttle bus because the bus was not equipped
with seat belts, adequate handholds, or secured luggage
Hedges and Bus Driver.
Bus Arg 1
It could not
be liable because it did not
manufacture, design, or produce the bus, nor did it alter,
change or modify the bus in any way from its original
Bus Arg 2
of summary judgment, arguing that the doctrine of manufacturers'
products liability is inapplicable to commercial sellers of used
For Arkansas Bus
bus was a used vehicle when the bus exchange purchased it and
that it did not alter, modify, rebuild or restore the bus.
Manufacturers' product liability was inapplicable to the
commercial seller of a used product if the alleged defect was
not created by the seller, and if the product was sold in
essentially the same condition as when it was acquired for
Bus Arg No modification
were created by the manufacturer. Other than changing the oil,
it did not recondition, change, alter, modify, or rebuild the
bus before selling it to Bentley.
Bus Arg Majority Following
sellers of used goods are not subject to strict liability for
injuries caused by defects which were present at the time of
v. General Motors
Manufacturers as "processors, assemblers, and all other persons
who are similarly situated in processing and distribution."
The rule is
that the manufacturer of the product is responsible for the
product reaching its market, and the manufacturer is best
situated to provide protection against the risk of injuries
caused by a defective product.
applicable to retailers, dealers or distributors, importers, and
for holding non-manufacturer-suppliers to the same liability
standard as manufacturers. Relying on cases from other
jurisdictions, we noted that: 1) retailers like manufacturers,
are engaged in the business of distributing goods to the public;
2) because they are an integral part of the overall producing
and marketing enterprise, they should bear the cost of injuries
resulting from defective products; 3) in some cases the retailer
may be the only member of the marketing chain reasonably
available to the public; and 4) in other cases the retailer may
play a substantial part in insuring that the product is safe or
may be in a position to exert pressure on the manufacturer to
make the product safer.
generally agree that resolution of the question hinges upon the
policies which underpin
strict liability and whether those policies are promoted by
applying the doctrine to commercial sellers of used products:
alleged defect was not created by the seller, AND
product is sold in essentially the same condition as when it was
acquired for resale.
second 402A view
402A is not limited by its terms to commercial seller so of new
products. It should also apply to dealers in used goods.
Held that a
commercial seller of a used crane was not strictly liable for a
defect created by the manufacturer.
used goods markets operate on the apparent understanding that
the commercial seller makes no particular representation
about the quality of the used goods simply by offering them
if the buyer
wants assurances of quality, the buyer typically either
bargains for it or seeks out dealers who routinely offer
the sale of
a used product, without more, may not be found to generate
the kind of expectations of safety that the courts have held
are justifiably created by the introduction of a new product
into the stream of commerce;
of the used-goods dealer is normally entirely outside the
original chain of distribution of the product;
And there is
typically no ready channel of communication by which the
dealer and the manufacturer exchange information about
possible dangerous defects in particular product lines or about
actual and potential liability claims.
Restatement (Second) of Torts, 402A (1965) provides:
who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably
dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject
to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate
user or consumer, or to his property, if
seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product, and
is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without
substantial change in the condition in which it is sold.
rule stated in Subsection (1) applies although
seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and
sale of his product, and
user or consumer has not bought the product from or entered into
any contractual relation with the seller."