Quiz 25: Product Liability: Warranties and Torts


Refer to the case Gonzalez v Morflo Industries, Inc. (931 F Supp 159). Case Issue The issue is whether plaintiff can recover under theory of strict liability when a child is burned when bathing with hot water from heater made by the water heater manufacturer (defendant). Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Strict liability - holds a seller responsible for all defects on a sold item. The plaintiff doesn't need to show negligence by seller. Opinion Trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant. The court argued that strict liability could not hold because the water heater is supposed to be hot. In deciding this issue, the court argued that while hot water is potentially dangerous it is required to have hot water running for many household applications; hence, the manufacturer did not have a defect in design as water is supposed to be hot and the strict liability can't hold as it is burdensome to public to lower the hot water temperature. Furthermore, the court held that manufacturer had warned about the danger of hot water on the heater itself by stating its dangers. Hence, the plaintiff may not recover under strict liability or negligence.

Refer to the case Parrino v Sperling (648 NYS2d 702). Case Issue The issue is whether there is an express warranty regarding a vague statement that a wheelchair will last for years to come. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Express warranty - are terms sellers made about product that urges buyers to buy it. For example, claiming that a TV is HD is an express warranty that the TV is HD. Opinion The court held for defendant. The court argued that the term "years to come" used by the sellers is not definite enough to be an express warranty that the product will last for a great amount of years. As the product broke after 4 years, the time it was purchased, it exceeded the statute of limitations for claim on sales contract. Hence, the case was dismissed.

Refer to the case Jackson v Nestle-Beich, Inc (589 NE2d 547). Case Issue Trial court held for defendant by applying the natural substance test, arguing that pecans, chocolate covered or not, will have shells. Appeals court reversed the decision applying the reasonable expectation test that chocolate covered pecans should not have any remaining nut shells. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Breach of implied warranty - for food there is an implied warranty that the food should at least follow some standards needed for consumption, such as not having foreign object. For example, a needle found in a bowl of soup would be breach of implied warranty. However, it is debatable when a found object is naturally occurring to the ingredient such as finding egg shells in an omelet. Opinion Higher court affirmed the decision. The court argued under strict liability that defendant could have placed a warning in their food products stating that shells may have remained in the food. Since they failed to state that it caused potential danger to consumers who unknowlingly eats the food believing it to be free of shells.

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