Monday, November 11, 2013

Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Young case brief

Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Young case brief summary
321 A.2d 737 (Md. 1974)

Defendant manufacturer sought certification of a question of law from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in a wrongful death action brought by plaintiffs, mother and widow of decedent. Decedent was killed in an accident while in an automobile manufactured by defendant.


The question certified by the order of the lower court was whether or not the definition of the intended use of a motor vehicle included the vehicle's involvement in a collision and, thus, whether a cause of action was stated against the manufacturer in breach of warranty or negligence or absolute liability by allegations that the design and manufacture of the vehicle unreasonably increased the risk of injury to occupants following a collision not caused by any defect of the vehicle.
  • The court concluded that an automobile manufacturer was liable for a defect in design, which the manufacturer could have reasonably foreseen would cause or enhance injuries on impact that was not patent or obvious to the user and that enhanced the injuries in an automobile collision. 
  • The complaint was sufficient to set forth a cause of action in negligence under Maryland law. 
  • Consequently, the tort liability of a manufacturer or supplier of a motor vehicle for a defective design, which enhanced injuries in a collision, depended upon traditional principles of negligence.
  • Slug bug!


The court entered judgment in favor of the mother and the widow of decedent.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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