Brief Fact Summary. The Appellant, Baxter’s (Appellant), eye was injured when the windshield of his car shattered. Appellant claimed that the trial court improperly excluded evidence in printed materials produced by the Respondent, Ford Motor Company (Respondent), claiming that the windshield was shatterproof.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Representations set forth by a manufacturer whose falsehood cannot be readily detected by a buyer may be relied on by the buyer regardless of an absence of privity of contract.
It would be unjust to recognize a rule that would permit manufacturers of goods to create a demand for their products by representing that they possess qualities which they, in fact, do not possess; and then, because there is no privity of contract existing between the consumer and the manufacturer, deny the consumer the right to recover if damages result from the absence of those qualities, when such absence is not readily noticeable.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the trial court correctly refuse to admit evidence against Respondent of catalogues and printed materials regarding the quality of glass used in the windshield of Appellant’s car?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
* Appellant was provided with materials created by Respondent that claimed the windshield was made of shatter-proof glass. Respondent claims there can be no implied or express warranty derived from these materials because there is no privity of contract between Respondent and Appellant.
* This case is similar to cases where plaintiffs have prevailed in suits for being supplied with wrongly labeled drugs. In both cases, the injured party would be unable to discover the inherent problem with the product. The advent of radio and other marketing materials have rendered the rule of caveat emptor unfair in many instances. To permit a manufacturer to create demand for its product by representing they possess qualities that they in fact do not, while barring recovery due to a lack of privity is unjust. The court held that the printed matters were improperly excluded and that Appellant had a right to rely upon these representations even without privity of contract between Appellant and Respondent.
Discussion. The advent of modern advertising methods have made the traditional rule of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) unjust because of the unequal position of manufacturers and buyers.