Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Heaton v. Ford Motor Co. case brief

Heaton v. Ford Motor Co. case brief summary
435 P.2d 806 (1967)

Plaintiff truck owner sought review of a judgment from the Circuit Court, Clackamas County (Oregon), which was entered in favor of defendant truck manufacturer after an involuntary nonsuit in plaintiff's products liability case. Plaintiff contended that he had produced sufficient evidence to support his contention that the wheel on his truck was dangerously defective and that it did not perform consistent with consumer expectations.

Plaintiff truck owner filed a product liability action against defendant truck manufacturer alleging that the truck he purchased had a dangerously defective wheel, which resulted in an accident. An involuntary nonsuit was entered by the trial court based on the conclusion that plaintiff had not produced sufficient evidence to submit the case to the jury, and plaintiff sought review.


  • The court affirmed, holding that plaintiff did not submit evidence which would have allowed the jury to determine if the wheel had performed consistent with consumer expectations. 
  • The court noted that plaintiff's burden was to prove that the wheel was dangerously defective, and that plaintiff failed to introduce evidence of flawed manufacture or dangerous design. 
  • The court noted further that plaintiff had supplied no basis in the record for the jury to make their factual determination as to reasonable consumer expectations from the product. 
  • Accordingly, the nonsuit was affirmed.

The court affirmed the involuntary nonsuit entered in plaintiff truck owner's product liability action against defendant truck manufacturer because plaintiff failed to support his allegation that the wheel was dangerously defective. The court noted that the record was devoid of sufficient evidence upon which the jury could make its determination as to whether the product performed as reasonable consumers would have expected.

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