Friday, March 23, 2012
ESCOLA V. COCA COLA BOTTLING OF FRESNO case brief
ESCOLA V. COCA COLA BOTTLING OF FRESNO
• plaintiff injured when coke bottle broke in her hand
• P can’t prove any unreasonable conduct – used res ipsa loquitor to say that the broken bottle was evidence from which negligence could be inferred
• The majority affirms the trial court’s judgment for plaintiff on res ipsa loquitor grounds
• Judge Traynor, in his concurrence with the judgment, disagrees with the reasoning of the majority:
• Traynor says res ipsa loquitor not applicable because this is not a negligence case, but rather a strict liability case
• Traynor, unlike Posner, wants to move the court away from negligence and toward strict liability
• Doctrinally, these consumer cases are governed by an implied warranty of fitness between retailer and consumer, in which consumer sues retailer, and retailer sues manufacturer
• Why go through this? Instead, consumer should be able to hold manufacturer directly liable
• Traynor points to the food cases where manufacturers were held strictly liable
• At this point in time, consumers are far removed from manufacturers, but still use advertising to reach consumers
• POLICY: Deterrence argument – we want to reduce the level of accidents; the manufacturer is in much better position to make the product safe than is the consumer
• Loss spreading – an individual consumer is a bad loss spreader, as opposed to the manufacturer, who can spread the costs to the product price for all consumers
• Similar to Cardozo’s opinion in MacPherson
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