Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc.

59 Cal.2d 57; 377 P.2d 897

 

RULE:

A manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article he places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being. Recognized first in the case of unwholesome food products, such liability has now been extended to a variety of other products that create as great or greater hazards if defective. 

FACTS:

Plaintiff donee brought an action against defendants, a retailer and a manufacturer, seeking to recover for personal injuries sustained while using a power tool made by the manufacturer and sold by the retailer. The donee alleged breach of express and implied warranties and negligence. The manufacturer and the donee both appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court.

ISSUE:

Whether it was sufficient that the donee proved that he was injured while using the product in a way it was intended and that his injury was as a result of a defect in the design and manufacture, of which he was not aware and which made the product unsafe for its intended use?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the retailer and in favor of the donee as against the manufacturer. In upholding the judgment of the trial court, the court held that the manufacturer was strictly liable in tort because the power tool that was placed on the market, without inspection for defects, had a hidden defect that caused injury. The court further held that there was no requirement of a contract between the manufacturer and the donee. It was sufficient that the donee proved that he was injured while using the product in a way it was intended and that his injury was as a result of a defect in the design and manufacture, of which he was not aware and which made the product unsafe for its intended use.

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