Sunday, March 24, 2013

McCoy v. American Suzuki Motor Corp. case brief

McCoy v. American Suzuki Motor Corp. case brief summary
961 P.2d 952 (Wash. 1998)

SYNOPSIS: Respondent claimant brought a product liability suit against petitioner corporations. The Superior Court, Spokane County (Washington) reversed the grant of summary judgment to the corporations. The corporations appealed.

-The claimant was driving when the car which preceded him swerved off the roadway and rolled.
-The claimant stopped to render assistance, and at the direction of a police officer placed flares to warn approaching vehicles.
-Concerned that the flares were insufficient, the claimant continued further up the road, and, using flares, manually directed traffic to the inside lane.
-While walking back to his vehicle the claimant was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle.
-The claimant brought the products liability claim against the corporations, which manufactured the vehicle that rolled.
-The claimant based his claim upon the rescue doctrine alleging that he was injured while a rescuer. -The court concluded that the rescue doctrine did apply to product liability actions.
-The claimant also argued that the rescue doctrine relieved him of proving that the corporations proximately caused his injury.

The court disagreed and held that the claimant was required to show proximate cause.

The court found that the issue of whether the third vehicle striking the claimant was an intervening cause was one for the jury.

To achieve rescuer status one must demonstrate: (1) the defendant was negligent to the person rescued and such negligence caused the peril or appearance of peril to the person rescued; (2) the peril or appearance of peril was imminent; (3) a reasonably prudent person would have concluded such peril or appearance of peril existed; and (4) the rescuer acted with reasonable care in effectuating the rescue.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the reversal of the summary judgment grant and remanded for trial.

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