59 Cal.2d 57 (1963).

One-Sentence Takeaway: A manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article he places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a person.

Summary: Plaintiff was injured by a defectively designed power tool.  Plaintiff sued both the retailer and the manufacturer.

The trial court ruled that Plaintiff had not established a prima facie case under an implied warranty theory against the manufacturer.  The trial court did allow the jury to decide Plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim against the retailer, which the jury found in Defendant retailer’s favor, and the negligence and breach of express warranty claims against the manufacturer, which the jury found in Plaintiff’s favor.

On appeal, the manufacturer challenged the adequacy of Plaintiff’s notice of breach of warranty. Observing that the law of sales was poorly suited to tort purposes and that a transactional perspective on products liability had been implicitly rejected with the demise of the privity requirement, the court announced a new rule of strict products liability in tort: “A manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article he places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being.”

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