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Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc.

Citation. 377 P.2d 897 (Cal. 1963)
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Brief Fact Summary.

A man was injured by a power tool he bought.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A manufacturer is strictly liable if they place a product on the market without inspecting it.


Plaintiff bought a power tool made by the defendant.  The defendant did not adequately test and ensure the strength of some of the fasteners that held the machine together.  Consequently, when the plaintiff used it for one of it’s intended purposes it malfunctioned, causing the plaintiff the. injuries for which he sues.


Is strict liability, and the presumption of negligence, appropriate when a product is sold without adequate safety testing?


Yes, strict liability is appropriate.


The court found for the plaintiff, and ruled that the defendants were strictly liable for the defects in the product.  They opined that strict liability was appropriate because the defendant placed a product on the market without inspecting it for defects, and it did in fact have a defect, which was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.  Consequently, strict liability, which implies negligence, is appropriate under the circumstances.

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