Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Soule v. General Motors Corp. case brief

Soule v. General Motors Corp. case brief summary
882 P.2d 298 (1994)

Defendant automobile manufacturer appealed the judgment of the Court of Appeal (California) affirming an order of the trial court in favor of plaintiff automobile owner in her action against defendant for personal injuries she allegedly suffered due to an uncrashworthy vehicle.

In a tort action for enhanced collision injuries allegedly caused by an uncrashworthy vehicle, plaintiff automobile owner contended that she was seriously injured in an accidental collision as a result of defects in her automobile caused by the negligence of defendant automobile manufacturer. Defendant denied any defect.

The trial court ruled in favor of plaintiff, and the court of appeal affirmed. Defendant sought review.


  • The court held that the trial court erred by giving an "ordinary consumer expectations" instruction in the complex case and by denying defendant's request for a special instruction on causation. 
  • Absent any proof of actual prejudice in the record, however, the court affirmed the judgment for plaintiff because both errors were harmless and neither error was reversible error per se.
The court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal upholding a trial court order in favor of plaintiff automobile owner in her suit against defendant automobile manufacturer for personal injuries she suffered due to an uncrashworthy vehicle because no trial court error caused actual prejudice.

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