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Escola v. Coca Cola Bottling Co. of Fresno

Citation. 150P.2d 436 (Cal. 1944)
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Citation. 150P.2d 436 (Cal. 1944)

Brief Fact Summary.

A bottle exploded in a waitresses hand while she was stocking shelves, injuring her.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The res ipsa loquitur presumption of negligence applies to products liability.


Plaintiff is a waitress, who in the course of her employment took a case of Coca Cola, manufactured by the defendant, and set it on top of the refrigerator in the restaurant.  She then began taking them. out of the case one by one and transferring them into the fridge.  As she did so, one of the bottles was allegedly over carbonated and exploded in her hand, causing her injuries.


Was the plaintiff entitled to the res ipsa loquitur inference of negligence?


Yes, the plaintiff could be entitled to the res ipsa loquitur inference of negligence.


Justice Trainer, J.

The justice concurs in the decision of the majority, but opines that manufacturers should be subject to absolute liability when they sell something without inspecting it and it ends up having a defect causing injury.


The court finds in favor of the plaintiff.  They rule the plaintiff could be entitled to the res ipsa loquitur inference of negligence, provided they can prove there were no intervening factors that would have changed its nature in the interim. Res ipsa loquitur requires that the defendant 1)have exclusive control of the thing causing injury and 2)that the accident is of the nature that would not occur in the absence of negligence.  The court opines that under these facts those requirements are satisfied.

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