Pl - Daly
(Window and children)
Df - GM
had an accident in his Opel convertible going between 50 70
mph where he hit and damaged a metal divider fence.
forcibly ejected from the car where he sustained severe head
complaint is the drivers door was thrown open.
undisputed that if deceased remained in the car would probably
just sustain minor injuries.
Motors Corporation, Click for Enhanced Coverage Boulevard
Buick, Underwriter's Auto Leasing, and Alco Leasing Company,
the successive links in the Opel's manufacturing and
theory of plaintiffs' complaint was strict liability for damages
allegedly caused by a defective product, namely, an improperly
designed door latch claimed to have been activated by the
further asserted that, but for the faulty latch, decedent would
have been restrained in the vehicle and, although perhaps
injured, would not have been killed.
case involves a so-called "second collision" in which the
"defect" did not contribute to the original impact, but only to
the "enhancement" of injury.
The car had
a door lock and seat belt.
The door was
not locked and the seat belt was not used.
Opel owner's manual contained warnings that seat belts should be
worn and doors locked when the car was in motion for "accident
intoxicated at the time of collision, which evidence the jury
was advised was admitted for the limited purpose of determining
whether decedent had used the vehicle's safety equipment.
Liability and Comparative Fault
intoxication-nonuse evidence was improperly admitted.
deceased own conduct contributed to his own death.
Against the recognition of comparative negligence
liability is not founded on negligence or fault is inhospitable
to comparative negligence.
syllogism runs, contributory negligence was only a defense to
negligence, comparative negligence only affects contributory
negligence, therefore comparative negligence cannot be a defense
to strict liability.
We think they can be blended or accommodated.
strict liability against the manufacturer and in favor of the
user or consumer in order to relieve injured consumers "from
problems of proof inherent in pursuing negligence . . . and
warranty . . . remedies, . . ."
We sought to
place the burden of loss on manufacturers rather than ". . .
injured persons who are powerless to protect themselves . . . ."
Pl - will
continue to be relieved of proving that the manufacturer or
distributor was negligent in the production and design.
liability for injuries caused by a defective product remains
recovery will be reduced only to the extent that his own lack of
reasonable care contributed to his injury.
promotes the equitable allocate of loss among all parties
legally responsible in proportion to their fault.
Manufacturers incentive to produce safe products will be
manufacturer cannot avoid its
continuing liability for a defective product even when
the plaintiff's own conduct has contributed to his injury.
manufacturer cannot assume that
the user of a defective product upon whom an injury is
visited will be blameworthy
Objection Merger of strict liability with comparative fault
cannot assess, measure, or compare plaintiff's negligence with
defendant's strict liability
of risk is not a form of contributory negligence.
that a system of comparative fault should be and it is hereby
extended to actions founded on strict products liability.