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American Tobacco Co. v. Grinnell

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Grinnel filed suit against American Tobacco Company (American) after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A manufacturer does not have a duty to warn of the risks of his product if the risks of the product are common knowledge.

    Facts.

    Grinnel filed suit against American Tobacco Company (American) after being diagnosed with lung cancer. When Girnnel died, his family commenced the suit and the trial court granted summary judgment to American. The appellate court reversed and American appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a manufacturer has a duty to warn of the risks of his product if the risks of the product are common knowledge?

    Held.

    No. Judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Because the risks of the product were not common knowledge when Grinnell started smoking, American had a duty to warn Grinnell of the addictive qualities of the product.

    Points of Law - for Law School Success

    In order to recover for an injury on the theory of strict products liability in tort, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that: (1) the defendant placed a product into the stream of commerce; (2) the product was in a defective or unreasonably dangerous condition; and (3) there was a causal connection between such condition and the plaintiff's injuries or damages.

    View Full Point of Law
    Discussion.

    A manufacturer does not have a duty to warn of the risks of his product if the risks of the product are common knowledge.


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