Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. case brief

MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. case brief summary
111 N.E. 1050 (N.Y. 1916)

Defendant car manufacturer appealed from a judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department (New York), which affirmed a judgment holding defendant liable for negligently failing to inspect a car that was bought by plaintiff car owner.

Defendant was an automobile manufacturer who obtained wheels for its automobiles from a separate manufacturer. Defendant sold its vehicles to automobile retailers. Plaintiff purchased one of defendant's vehicles from a dealer. Plaintiff was riding in the vehicle when it collapsed and plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff sued defendant for negligence. A jury verdict was rendered in plaintiff's favor.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed, reasoning that defendant was not absolved from a duty of inspection on the ground that it bought the wheels from a reputable manufacturer. 
  • The court determined that because defendant was not merely a dealer in automobiles but was a manufacturer of automobiles, it was responsible for the finished product and was not at liberty to place the finished product on the market without subjecting the component parts to ordinary and simple tests.

The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.

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