Wednesday, January 1, 2014

McCormack v. Hankscraft Co. case brief

McCormack v. Hankscraft Co. case brief summary
154 N.W.2d 488 (1967)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought relief from the judgment of the Ramsey County District Court (Minnesota) which, after jury trial, granted appellee's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and also its alternative motion for a new trial, if the order for judgment notwithstanding the verdict was reversed, vacated, or set aside, in personal injury action.

CASE FACTS
Appellee's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and its alternative motion for new trial was granted by the trial court in a personal injury action arising from use of a steam vaporizer. Appellant alleged that appellee was negligent and breached implied and express warranties. Appellee unsuccessfully argued that the jury verdict, finding negligence and breach of express warranties, was not supported by the evidence, was contrary to law, and awarded excessive damages.

DISCUSSION
  • The court held that failure to warn and inherent dangers of use were not obvious and were outside the realm of common knowledge of potential users. 
  • Moreover, the court held that liability was also sufficiently evidenced by the unsafe design of the product. 
  • Furthermore, the court held that neither lack of privity of contract nor failure to provide timely notice under Minn. Stat. § 512.49 barred recovery because the defective product was not governed by the law of contract warranty but was governed by the law of strict liability.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed and ordered a judgment upon the verdict because the evidence was sufficient to sustain the jury's verdict of liability and support the reasonable inference that appellee's negligence and breach of warranty proximately caused the injury.

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