defective design

Products Liability: Consumer Expectations Test

By on March 16, 2015 - Comments off

Romine v. Johnson Controls, Inc., (Second District, March 17, 2014) 2014 WL 1012960, 14 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2958, 2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 3414, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-

A woman who was rendered quadriplegic when her seat collapsed when her pickup truck was rear-ended, filed a products liability action against the manufacturer of the seat. The plaintiff contended that the seat was defectively designed, in that it had failed to restrain her in the collision, allowing her body to slide up the seat and strike her head on the vehicle’s back seat.

Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff the manufacturer appealed, contending that the trial court erred in permitting the plaintiff to try that claim under the consumer expectations test rather than the risk/benefit test. The defendant argued that the consumer expectations test may not be used to evaluate “the performance of the design of a single part of a multi-component vehicle and restraint system in a violent, multi-vehicle car crash, and that the trial court erred in excluding evidence relevant to the risk/benefit test. However, the court of appeal affirmed, rejecting the argument that the complexity of the collision precluded application of the consumer expectations test: Read the rest »