Monday, March 25, 2013

Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. case brief

Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. case brief
27 Cal. Rptr 697, 59 Cal. 2d 57, 377 P.2d 897 (1963)

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 of San Diego County (California).

OVERVIEW: The donee received the combination power tool as a gift from his wife. The tool could be used as a saw, drill, and wood lathe. The donee brought his action after suffering serious injury while using the tool for its intended purpose. The donee gave defendants written notice of the claimed breaches of warranties and then filed his complaint. 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. The donee was not bound by the notice requirement of Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1769. 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.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the judgment against the manufacturer and the judgment in favor the retailer.

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