As the result of an appeals court decision, a child who was injured by her grandfather’s riding lawn mower will be allowed to pursue a strict liability claim against Simplicity Manufacturing, Inc., the machine’s manufacturer. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment in the case which had been entered by a lower court. The child had her left foot amputated after her grandfather backed over her leg while operating a riding mower manufactured by the Defendant. Suit was filed, alleging that the Defendant was at fault because the mower, a Regants model, was designed without any back-over protection.
The Defendant argued that under applicable Pennsylvania law, a manufacturer can only be strictly liable by an “intended user,” not a bystander injured when its product is operated by the intended user. But the Appeals Court disagreed, stating:
We predict that if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court were confronted with this issue, it would adopt the Restatement (Third) of Torts, §§1 and 2, and thereby afford bystanders a cause of action in strict liability under the circumstances here.
The Court further decided that the manufacturer could be sued for negligently designing the lawnmower without “no mow in reverse” features. This type of back-up protection was available to the Defendants.
Source: Lawyers USA
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