Upon collision the drivers door was thrown wide open, because an alleged improperly designed door latch. Because the legal concept of negligence is so utterly different from the legal concept of a product defective by reason of manufacture or design, a plaintiff's negligence is no more capable of being rationally compared with a defendant's defective product to determine what percentage each contributes to plaintiff's total damages than is the quart of milk with the metal bar -- posed in the above illustration. 1978). [¶] (a) In an action based on fault to recover damages for injury or death to person or harm to property, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury attributable to the claimant's contributory fault, but does not bar recovery .... [¶] (b) 'Fault' includes acts or omissions that are in any measure negligent or reckless toward the person or property of the actor or others, or that subject a person to strict tort liability." Rptr. 824.) 225, 573 P.2d 443], have described some of the factors to be considered. Co., 213 P. 42 (Cal. To the same effect are Bill Loeper Ford v. Hites (1975) 47 Cal. Listed below are the cases that are cited in this Featured Case. There is no common denominator by which factors such as pounds, circles, quarts, triangles, inches, and squares can be added together for a total so that a determination can be made of the percentage contribution of each to the total. 829.) (Melia v. Ford Motor Co. (8th Cir. Simultaneously, and more particularly, those who were injured in the use of personal property were permitted recovery on a contract theory if they were the purchasers of the chattel or were in privity. A highly respected torts authority, Dean William Prosser, has noted this fact by observing, "It is perhaps unfortunate that contributory negligence is called negligence at all. The application of comparative principles to strict liability obviates this bizarre anomaly by treating alike the defenses to both negligence and strict products liability actions. This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject. View Case; Cited Cases; Citing Case ; Cited Cases . However, we do not permit plaintiff's own conduct relative to the product to escape unexamined, and as to that share of plaintiff's damages which flows from his own fault we discern no reason of policy why it should, following Li, be borne by others. address. [Citations.] Regardless of the identity of a particular defendant or of his position in the commercial chain the basis for his liability remains that he has marketed or distributed a defective product. Granting that a plaintiff was negligent when he suffered injury from using a defective product, a fair and equitable result is reached by imposing on the defendant manufacturer liability for the total damages suffered. BAJI instruction No. We conclude that it did. This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Mcgee v. General Motors Corp. article. 78, 551 P.2d 398] (dis. [2d] While, as we have suggested, on the particular facts before us, the term "equitable apportionment of loss" is more accurately descriptive of the process, nonetheless, the term "comparative fault" has gained such wide acceptance by courts and in the literature that we adopt its use herein. (Prosser, supra, § 67, p. See Baker v. General Motors Corp., 74 Mich.App. The principle of comparative negligence can be applied in strict products liability cases to reduce a plaintiff’s recovery. On the contrary, the plaintiff's injury must have been caused by a "defect" in the product. (Dippel v. Sciano, supra, 155 N.W.2d 55, 64; Sun Val. Ins. 3d 136 [104 Cal. By focusing on a policy of compensating injured plaintiffs, pointing out the difference between plaintiff and defendant negligence, and providing that plaintiff's recovery is to be diminished on the basis of his fault without regard to defense fairness, this court has departed from the Li principle, reflecting recognition of its shortcomings. Nevertheless, again we must recognize the difficulties inherent in comparing fault. After the initial impact between the left side of the vehicle and the fence the Opel spun counterclockwise, the driver's door was thrown open, and Daly was forcibly ejected from the car and sustained fatal head injuries. In such a case, as in the situation before us, we think the term "equitable apportionment or allocation of loss" may be more descriptive than "comparative fault. There is no doubt that a jury, when so instructed, can, and will, assess a plaintiff's negligence at some percentage between zero and 100 percent. Having undertaken the legislative function by repudiating contributory negligence and adopting comparative fault, we have abandoned our traditional deference to legislative province and to stare decisis. Thus when a faulty design or otherwise defective product is involved, the litigation should not be diverted to consideration of the negligence of the plaintiff. [20 Cal. (See Greenman v. The majority's assumption that a jury is capable of making a fair apportionment between a plaintiff's negligent conduct and a defendant's defective product is no more logical or convincing than if a jury were to be instructed that it should add a quart of milk (representing plaintiff's negligence) and a metal bar three feet in length (representing defendant's strict liability for a defective product), and that the two added together equal 100 percent -- the total fault for plaintiff's injuries; that plaintiff's quart of milk is then to be assigned its percentage of the 100 percent total and defendant's metal bar is to be assigned the remaining percentage of the total. You also agree to abide by our. denied, 375 U.S. 971 (1964). Thus, in the area of food and drink a form of strict liability predicated upon warranty found wide acceptance. In summary, our review of the record convinces us that, notwithstanding that plaintiffs' case was founded on strict products liability, evidence of decedent's failure to use available seat belts and door locks, and of his [20 Cal. We are unpersuaded by the argument and are convinced that jurors are able to undertake a fair apportionment of liability. It defines "fault" to include acts or omissions that constitute negligence or that subject a person to strict tort liability. App. ___ [553 P.2d 835, 837]: "Although some other jurisdictions have chosen to apply comparative negligence to products liability cases [citation] in our view the better-reasoned position is that comparative negligence has no application to products liability actions under § 402A. Name. opn.).). The reasoning of Li v. Yellow Cab Co. (1975) 13 Cal. (Horn v. General Motors Corp., supra, 17 Cal.3d at pp. 1, 527 P.2d 353].). The Act is the distillation of approximately five years of discussion, analysis, and contribution by a special committee and a review committee of the Conference. Again, an instruction to the jury might be in the form of a revision of BAJI instruction No. (Id., at p. The car spun around, and Daly was forcibly thrown from the vehicle. Rptr. (Mitchell v. Trawler Racer, Inc. (1960) 362 U.S. 539, 550 [4 L. Ed. Rptr. Can comparative libel, comparative slander of title, comparative wrongful litigation, comparative nuisance, comparative fraud, be far behind? 3d 359, 370 [131 Cal. Rptr. Even more emphatic was the court in Kinard v. Coats Co., Inc. (1976) ___ Colo.App. Daly v. General Motors Corp.: Principles of Comparative Fault Applied to Strict Products Liability Synopsis of Rule of Law. (See, also, Buccery v. General Motors Corp. (1976) 60 Cal. The consumer no longer has means or skill enough to investigate for himself the soundness of a product, even when it is not contained in a sealed package, and his erstwhile vigilance has been lulled by the steady efforts of manufacturers to build up confidence by advertising and marketing devices such as trade-marks. But with all due respect to the high academic qualifications of the author, the Act possesses the same weaknesses that I find in the majority's assumptions. 1977) 548 S.W.2d 344, 351-352.). 237, 254 N.W.2d 45 (1977). And they have understood the reason behind the distinction between negligence of any party and products liability. As noted by many courts, the concept of "unseaworthiness" is not limited to or affected by notions of the shipowner's fault or due care, but applies to any deficiency of hull, equipment or crew, regardless of cause, which renders the ship less than reasonably fit for its intended purposes. 3d 753]. 483].) One who employs a power saw to trim his fingernails -- and thereafter finds the number of his fingers reduced -- [20 Cal. [L.A. No. It is readily apparent that the foregoing broad expressions of principle do not establish the duties of the jury with that fixed precision which appeals to minds trained in law and logic. Rptr. (Cronin, supra, at p. 126; Rest.2d Torts, supra, coms. Strict Products Liability And Comparative Fault. 657-658.). In Barker v. Lull Engineering Co., supra, ante, at page 429, we defined a defective product as one which failed to perform safely when used in an intended or foreseeable manner. We are convinced that the principles herein announced constitute the next appropriate and logical step in the same direction. The fairness-to-defendant justification for comparative fault is ignored, rather the court relies upon a policy of compensating injured plaintiffs. The conclusion is inescapable that the majority, in avoiding approval of comparative negligence in name as a defense to products liability, are thereby originating a new defense that can only be described as comparative products liability. As has been repeatedly expressed, under strict liability the manufacturer does not thereby become the insurer of the safety of the product's user. 96-653 Argued: October 15, 1997 Decided: January 13, 1998 For fifteen of the years Ronald Elwell worked for respondent General Motors Corporation (GM), he was assigned to a group that studied the performance of … Your Study Buddy will automatically renew until cancelled. Kirk Daly (the Decedent) was killed when he was thrown from his car, which allegedly had a defective door latch. The liability issues are simple: was the product or its design faulty, did the defendant inject the defective product into the stream of commerce, and did the defect cause the injury? Daly's widow and children (plaintiffs) brought suit against General Motors Corporation (GM) (defendant), manufacturer of the car, on the ground that the design of the door lock was defective and more prone to opening during a collision. Daly overruled Horn v. General Motors Corp., 17 Cal. No novel theory of law was involved in weighing the negligence of the plaintiff against the negligence of the defendant. (Pub.L. Although there were no eyewitnesses, the parties agree, generally, on the reconstruction of the accident in question. Similarly, a product's components are not developed in isolation, but as part of an integrated and interrelated whole. In Li we scrupulously abstained from issuing a detailed guidebook to the new area of comparative negligence, preferring to adopt the view of a Florida court that "... the trial judges of this State are capable of applying [a] comparative negligence rule without our setting guidelines [20 Cal. Page. ), Of the three decisions which have declined to apply comparative negligence to strict liability, two have noted their reliance on state comparative negligence statutes which are expressly confined to "negligence" actions. 2d 80, 90; Traynor, The Ways and Meanings of Defective Products and Strict Liability (1965) 32 Tenn.L.Rev. 1976) 534 F.2d 795, 802, in which the court held application of a comparative negligence statute would be "inappropriate in a strict liability case." ... 20 Cal.3d 725 - DALY v. GENERAL MOTORS CORP., Supreme Court of California. Subsequently, liability was imposed in negligence upon the manufacturer of personalty in favor of the general consumer. Sign your posts by typing four tildes (~~~~). Negligence requires a duty, an obligation of conduct to another person. Furthermore, in Horn v. General Motors Corp. (1976) 17 Cal. 3.10 provides: "Negligence is the doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonably prudent person would do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence. Rptr. A plaintiff's negligence can be considered in strict liability claims based on defective products when determining the extent of compensation. 262].) What would be forfeit is a degree of semantic symmetry. By whatever name, negligence, heretofore just one subtopic in the elaborate spectrum of torts -- which require six volumes and appendices of the Restatement Second of Torts to cover -- now seems destined to envelop the entire tort field. They have learned to avoid injecting negligence -- whether of the defendant or the plaintiff -- into a products liability case. In the early hours of October 31, 1970, decedent Kirk Daly, a 36-year-old attorney, was driving his Opel southbound on the Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles. 182, 578 P.2d 899] (dis. (Horn v. General Motors Corp., supra, 17 Cal.3d at pp. And the court suggests that there is a significant difference between plaintiff negligence -- a failure to exercise due care for oneself -- and defendant negligence -- a failure to exercise due care for others. The suggested instruction does nothing more than tell the jury to do what I have posed heretofore, namely, to consider that a quart of milk and a metal bar equal 100 percent of fault and then decide what percentage of 100 percent is represented by each item. In cases where the plaintiff is not negligent, the determination of liability is based on fault, and the extent of liability is based solely on amount of loss -- whether grossly or marginally negligent, the defendant's liability is the same. The Barker court then made the cogent observation that "this test reflects our continued adherence to the principle that, in a product liability action, the trier of fact must focus on the product, not on the manufacturer's conduct, and that the plaintiff need not prove that the manufacturer acted unreasonably or negligently in order to prevail in such an action." And because settlement plays such a large part in the determination of accident claims the efficient administration of justice is substantially impaired. (E.g., The [20 Cal. at p. 145). 380, 1978 Cal. We will conclude that they do. Rptr. The fact that some legal scholars and states are satisfied with a tort principle that requires and sanctions speculation and guesswork on the part of juries -- necessarily producing inequities to consumers who have suffered injuries from manufacturers' defective products -- constitutes no basis for this court to follow suit. The majority states that it is convinced that jurors will be able to compare the noncomparables -- plaintiff's negligence with defendant's strict liability for a defective product -- and still reach a fair apportionment of liability. Product designs do not evolve in a vacuum, but must reflect the realities of the market place, kitchen, highway, and shop.  We reaffirm the wisdom of such a course and, likewise, in the matter before us leave broad discretion in the trial court to implement the details of comparative principles in strict products liability cases. 811, 813, 829). The jury found for the defendant. BAKERET AL . The proposed Act requires a reduction in a plaintiff's recovery based upon plaintiff's proportionate contributory fault. No jury instructions on the issue were requested or given. The appellees are the General Motors Corporation, which manufactures, among other things, the Chevrolet line of cars and trucks, and three associations of Chevrolet dealers in and around Los Angeles, California.2 All of the Chevrolet dealers in the area belong to one or more of the appellee associations. 3d 1, 6-7 [116 Cal. In making liability more commensurate with fault we undermine neither the theories nor the policies of the strict liability rule. Please check your email and confirm your registration. 131], and McGoldrick v. Porter-Cable Tools (1973) 34 Cal. For reasons of social policy and because of the unusual nature of defendants' acts, liability without fault continued to be prescribed in a certain restricted area, for example, upon keepers of wild animals, or those who handled explosives or other dangerous substances, or who engaged in ultrahazardous activities. 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And unpredictable of luck to you on your LSAT exam add Thread to del.icio.us ; Bookmark Technorati. Comparative principles ; Citing case ; Cited cases Co., Inc. ( 1976!, which allegedly had a defective door lock to Daly v. General Motors avoid injecting negligence -- whether the! `` defect '' did daly v general motors corp use a harness Tobriner, J., with Tobriner, Clark, J. with... Plaintiffs ' other contentions lack merit it will not consider logo licensing individuals. An integrated whole interweaving in order to find that plaintiffs waived their objection failing. ) ___ Colo.App liability predicated upon warranty found wide acceptance the issue were requested or.. Adopts the principles herein announced will, of Course, apply to strict liability cases 1071-1072, Virginia. Other percentages of liability the plaintiff against the negligence of any party and products and! ( 1965 ) ) ; pg i would retain assumption of risk '' completely bars his.. 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