Griggs v. BIC case brief summary
- Nearly 1000 people were killed annually in fires started by children playing with butane lighters, jury could find manufacturer negligent in failing to equip lighters with the childproof feature at cost of about 70cents.
- Manufacturer should, if something is reasonably foreseeable and they know the propensity for accidents and it is reasonably inexpensive, then they need to add the provisions, at cost to them.
- The court uses the risk-utility test to determine negligence.
- A manufacturer will fail the risk utility test if it does not adopt a relatively inexpensive safety feature that could appreciably improve a product’s safety, as by incorporating the child resistant feature in utility lighters for less than 5 cents to them, a $2.50 shield made of shatterproof glass over a pressure gauge to protect a person’s eyes, or installing a $3 shield over the rear of a power mower.
- Even if adding the child proof device to a disposable butane cigarette lighter increases its cost by as much as 60-75%, raising its price to that extent may be worth the benefit of substantially reducing the massive losses regularly caused by children playing with lighters not equipped with such a device.