Cronin v. J.B.E. Olson Corp.

8 Cal. 3d 121, 104 Cal. Rptr. 433, 501 P.2d 1153 (1972)



Strict liability should not be imposed upon a manufacturer when injury results from a use of its product that is not reasonably foreseeable. Although a collision may not be the normal or intended use of a motor vehicle, vehicle manufacturers must take accidents into consideration as reasonably foreseeable occurrences involving their products. The design and manufacture of products should not be carried out in an industrial vacuum but with recognition of the realities of their everyday use. 


Plaintiff injured person was a salesman for a bread company. He was in a vehicle accident while making a delivery. The impact broke a safety hasp that was built by the defendant manufacturer. The hasp was designed to hold bread trays in place. The loaded trays, driven forward by the abrupt stop and impact, struck the injured person in the back and hurled him through the windshield. During trial, the injured person proved that the hasp was defective. The trial court refused to give the manufacturer's instruction requiring the injured person to also prove that the defective hasp made the product unreasonably dangerous. The court affirmed the judgment.


Did the trial court err by refusing to instruct the jury that the injured person must establish that the defective condition of the product made it unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer in a strict liability case?




The injured person could establish a manufacturer's liability by proof that he was injured while using the product in a way it was intended to be used as a result of a defect in design and manufacture, which he did not know made the product unsafe for its intended use. The injured person was not required to prove that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer.

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