Defense Case Study

Topic: ArtDesign
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Last updated: May 19, 2019

Sarah Plantiff and Appellant V. ACME, KM, and STE Facts: The City of Albany decided to upgrade a fleet of repair trucks in order to respond to pothole fixing. ACME manufactured a cab and chassis of a truck that was then sold to Keefer Motors. Keefer Motors sold the truck unchanged to the City of Albany. No discussion by ACME or Keefer Motors had taken place with the City as to what the city would do with the truck.Susan’s Truck Equipment was contracted by the city to add a dump bed and hoist and the truck was modified and redelivered to the City of Albany; the truck was accepted and put into immediate use. Sarah and Emma are city employees and Sarah was injured when Emma backed up the pothole truck over her. Sarah was seriously injured and is suing ACME, Keefer Motors and Susan’s Truck Equipment, arguing that the truck was defective and unreasonably dangerous because the defendants did not advise the City of Albany to install a back-up alarm and they failed to install a back-up alarm.

Statement of Plaintiff’s Argument: Sarah is suing ACME for implied warranty of merchantability and negligence, claiming that ACME should have installed the safety back up alarm because they should know about the reverse probability for the truck and the visual allowance. The Plaintiff asserts that Keefer Motors is in breach of duty and failure of warranty of merchantability by failing to warn the City of Albany of the necessity of installing a back-up alarm by failure of inspecting the vehicle prior to selling it to the city.The Plaintiff also claims Keefer Motors knew the intended use of the truck by City of Albany. Additionally, the Plaintiff claims that Susan’s Truck Equipment should be held accountable for breach of implied warranty of fitness because upon altering the truck for a dump bed and hoist they too should have seen the need for a warning system.

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The Plaintiff further declares that the truck was in defective condition by being unreasonably dangerous which resulted in the cause of harm.Defense Argument: ACME is not in breach of implied warranty of merchantability as all they manufactured was a cab and chassis – the chassis is a flat-bed, with wheels and an axle – it is open and has no enclosure. ACME’s implied warranty of merchantability extends to making a promise that the goods are fit for the ordinary purposes for which they are sold which is a cab (place that holds the driver) and a chassis (flat area attached to cab).

As a manufacturer, ACME’s implied warranty is the cab/chassis which was fit for the ordinary purposes of being a truck shell, they have no knowledge of how the unit will be utilized. A back up sensor (unless required by law) does not make the unit unfit for the ordinary purposes of being a truck. Keefer Motors is not accountable for breach of warranty of merchantability as they were selling to the City of Albany a cab/chassis and the statement of facts asserts that no discussion took place with the city as to the purpose of the use of truck.Again product can still perform and no warranty was made regarding a back-up alarm. Breach of implied warranty of fitness by Susan’s Truck Equipment has not been proven as no proof is shown as to what STE might have advised the City of Albany about adding on safety features.

The City of Albany had the duty to its employees to modify the truck with safety capabilities as they are the entity to know the intended purpose of the modified vehicle for pothole reparations.Statement of facts claims STE installed a dump bed and hoist as requested by the City of Albany; again warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is implied when a buyer (city of Albany) relies upon the seller (STE) to select the goods to fit a specific request – a specific request for a backup alarm would have to come from the City of Albany and then not be installed for there to be a breach. Breach of implied warranty of merchantability has not been proven as the cab/chassis was fit for reasonable use and the purpose of the cab/chassis was not discussed by ACME or Keefer – they were selling a generic truck as manufacturer and seller.Breach of duty and negligence has not been proven because the defendants were not informed of the intent of the vehicle where they could make suggestions for add-on safety features.

Necessity of defect is not proven as there was no manufacturing defect, no design defect, no inadequacy on how to use the cab/chassis, and no inadequate warning has been proven on dangers of the use of a product – the lack of the rear alarm as never implied or stated as a requirement, therefore it cannot be relied on as part of the warranty. We would like the jury to consider that legal principle provides that an employer is liable for an employee’s actions, no matter how negligently done. Emma and Sarah were employees acting in the course of employment and the actions performed were with the intent of benefiting the City of Albany, their employer.The City of Albany did not exercise reasonable care by not having the backup alarm and breached their duty to protect their employees by failing to provide a safety device that could have prevented an injury. In this case, the City of Albany’s negligence in properly training and advising their employees regarding the trucks features or lack thereof is where the plaintiff should be directing their suit.

We ask that the jury dismiss the charges brought against ACME, Keefer Motors and Susan’s Trucking Equipment.


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