Monday, March 25, 2013

Richter v. Limax International case brief

Richter v. Limax International case brief
45 F.3d 1464 (10th Cir. 1995)

Plaintiff consumer filed an action against defendant trampoline manufacturer under theories of strict tort liability and negligence for stress fractures resulting from the repetitive running on a trampoline. The jury rendered a verdict for the consumer. The United States District Court for the District of Kansas granted the manufacturer's motion for judgment as a matter of law. The consumer appealed.

OVERVIEW: The consumer purchased a mini-trampoline from the manufacturer which she used for jogging. She was diagnosed as having stress fractures in the ankles and filed a suit against the manufacturer alleging the repetitive use of the mini-trampoline caused the stress fractures and that the mini-trampoline was defectively designed and contained inadequate warning. The jury found the manufacturer liable under strict tort liability and negligence for its failure to warn. The district court granted judgment as a matter of law for the manufacturer.

On appeal, the court held the judgment was erroneous. The mini-trampoline was defective because the manufacturer failed to warn the consumer of a foreseeable danger arising from its normal use and the manufacturer had a duty to warn of foreseeable dangers.

-The jury could have reasonably found the consumer's injury was causally related to repetitive jogging on the mini-trampoline and concluded that the manufacturer should have warned users of such danger, which was eminently knowable, or foreseeable, given the state of the art.
-The manufacturer should have known of the danger because reasonable tests would discovered the danger.

-In determining warning issues, the test is reasonableness.
-In all warning cases, either negligence or strict liability, even if a plaintiff or the court claims to analyze failure to warn or inadequacy of warning in the context of a strict products liability claim, the tests actually applied condition imposition of liability on a defendant's having actually or constructively known of the risk that triggers the warning.
-One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property, if (a) the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product, and (b) it is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold. (2) The rule applies although (a) the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product, and (b) the user or consumer has not bought the product from or entered into any contractual relation with the seller.

OUTCOME: The court reversed the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law for the manufacturer and remanded to the district court to reinstate the jury's verdict in favor of the consumer and to enter a judgment on the verdict.

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