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If at the time the seller distributes a product, it is not reasonably fit, suitable and safe for its intended or reasonably foreseeable purposes so that users or others who may be expected to come in contact with the product are injured as a result thereof, then the seller shall be responsible for the ensuing damages.
Appellee driver was injured in a car accident while driving a vehicle produced by appellant vehicle manufacturer. Appellee asserted product liability claims and was awarded a jury verdict and prejudgment interest. Appellant sought review and asserted that the trial court should have granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial.
Under the circumstances, should the trial court have granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, a new trial?
The court held that the lower court did not err in denying appellant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. There was no error in the position that appellant had a legal duty to protect appellee against the type of accident in which he was injured. The jury's findings that the vehicle was not reasonably fit to withstand the accident and that the defect proximately caused the injuries were supported by the evidence. A new trial was not required either. The court pointed out that, while the determination of liability under the applicable state of products liability law was far from perfect, the law provided appellee with the opportunity of recovery. The court found no basis in that law to overturn the jury's verdict, and the judgment was affirmed.