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Wilson Sporting Goods Co. v. Hickox

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Brief Fact Summary.

A man was injured by a poorly designed umpire’s mask.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Manufacturers are strictly liablefor injuries arising from a failure to examine a product for defects.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

To the extent that there are gaps or inconsistencies in McKinley's testimony, those issues go to the weight of the evidence, not to its admissibility.

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Facts.

Plaintiff is an umpire, who was approached by a representative of the defendant, and offered a new umpire’s mask.  Plaintiff was informed it had a new, better design that would increase his safety.  However, Defendant had not, in fact, tested the mask, and the mask had a defect in the design that caused it the trap the baseballs in the mask temporarily, transferring more kinetic energy to the face than a traditional mask.  The plaintiff was using the defendants mask when he was hit in the face, and the energy transferred caused him injury, including partial deafness.

Issue.

Is the defendant strictly liable for the plaintiff’s injuries?

Held.

Yes, the defendant is strictly liable.

Discussion.

The court found for the plaintiff, and held the defendant strictly liable.  In reaching this conclusion, the court was persuaded by the testimony of several experts, who testified that the design of the mask made by the defendant was such that if the plaintiff had been wearing a traditional mask, they would not have sustained any injuries.  The court also held that the testimony itself was properly admitted into the proceedings.


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