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Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc.
Citation:27 Cal. Rptr. 697, 59 Cal. 2d 57, 377 P.2d 897 (1963)
ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
The Shopsmith is a powertool that can function as a saw, drill, and wood lathe. Plaintiff saw the Shopsmith demonstrated by a retailer and studied the brochure distributed by the manufacturer. Plaintiff’s wife bought him a Shopsmith powertool for Christmas 1955. In 1957, Plaintiff purchased the wood lathe attachments to make a wood chalice. After several uses without incident, the wood for the chalice flew out of the machine while the Shopsmith was on and struck the plaintiff in the forehead, injuring him. About 10 and a half months later, the plaintiff filed suit against the retailer and the manufacturer, alleging breach of impliedand express warranty, as well as negligence.
At trial, plaintiff produced substantial evidence that his injuries were caused by both a defect in the design and manufacturing of the Shopsmith. Specifically, an expert witness for the plaintiff testified that the set screws used to hold certain parts of the Shopsmith together were inadequate, causing normal vibration to move the tailstock of the lathe attachment away from the wood being turned in the lathe, and permitting the wood to fly out. The expert further testified that there were better ways to fasten the machine together that would have prevented plaintiff’s injuries.
On appeal, the manufacturer argues that plaintiff’s cause of action alleging breach of warranty should not have been submitted to the jury, because as a matter of law the claim was time-barredunder § 1769 of the Civil Code.
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