Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Murray v. Fairbanks Morse case brief

Murray v. Fairbanks Morse case brief summary
610 F.2d 149 (1979)

Plaintiff injured person and defendant manufacturer appealed the decision by the United States District Court of the Virgin Islands in actions under negligence and strict products liability.

The injured party was hurt when he tried to install equipment made by manufacturer. The jury found the injured party to be partially negligent in the actions that were based on negligence and strict products liability. As a result, the trial court reduced the injured party's award proportionately to his degree of negligence.


  • The court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly applied the doctrine of comparative negligence under 5 V.I. Code Ann. § 1451 to the strict products liability claims. 
  • The court reasoned that the manufacturer should not have been required to pay for damages that were not completely its fault. 
  • The verdict amount was affirmed because the manufacturer did not object to the closing argument in which a specific award amount was requested, such a request was not improper, and the amount was not excessive given the evidence. 
  • The jury instruction error was harmless.
The court affirmed the trial court's decisions in the negligence and strict products liability action because the manufacturer was entitled to an offset in the damages award due to the injured party's comparative fault and the amount of the verdict was supported by the evidence.

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