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Opinions of the Colorado Supreme Court are available to the public and can be accessed through the Judicial Branch’s homepage at . Opinions are also posted on the Colorado Bar Association’s homepage at . ADVANCE SHEET HEADNOTE November 13, 2017 2017 CO 102 No. 15SC899, Walker v. Ford Motor Co.—Torts—Products Liability—Design Defect. In this case, the supreme court considers whether a trial court errs when it gives a jury instruction that allows the jury to apply either the consumer expectation test or the risk-benefit test to determine whether a driver’s car seat was unreasonably dangerous due to a design defect. The court concludes that the risk-benefit test is the appropriate test to assess whether a product was unreasonably dangerous due to a design defect when, as here, the dangerousness of the design is “defined primarily by technical, scientific information.”Ortho Pharm. Corp. v. Heath, 722 P.2d 410, 414 (Colo. 1986), overruled on other grounds by Armentrout v. FMC Corp., 842 P.2d 175, 183 (Colo. 1992). The court further concludes that the jury’s separate finding of negligence did not render the instructional error harmless in this case.
The Supreme Court of the State of Colorado 2 East 14thAvenue • Denver, Colorado80203 2017 CO 102Supreme Court Case No. 15SC899 Certiorari to the Colorado Court of AppealsCourt of Appeals Case No. 14CA273 Petitioner: Forrest Walker,v. Respondent: Ford Motor Company. Judgment Affirmed en banc November 13, 2017 Attorneys for Petitioner: Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP John A. Purvis Michael J. Thomson Boulder, Colorado Attorneys for Respondent: Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLPEdward C. Stewart Jessica G. Scott Theresa R. Wardon Denver, Colorado Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP S. Kirk Ingebretsen Denver, ColoradoShook, Hardy & Bacon LLP Victor E. Schwartz Phil S. Goldberg Cary Silverman Washington, District of Columbia
2 Attorneys for Amici Curiae Colorado Civil Justice League and American Tort Reform Association: Taylor Anderson LLP Lee Mickus Margaret Boehmer Denver, ColoradoAttorneys for Amicus Curiae The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. Brian K. Matise David K. TeSelle Nelson P. Boyle Englewood, ColoradoAttorneys for Amicus Curiae Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc.: Wells, Anderson & Race, LLC Mary A. Wells L. Michael Brooks, Jr. Denver, ColoradoCHIEF JUSTICE RICEdelivered the Opinion of the Court.
3 ¶1In this products liability case, we consider whether the trial court erred when it gave a jury instruction that allowed the jury to apply either the consumer expectation test or the risk-benefit test to determine whether a driver’s car seat was unreasonably dangerous due to a design defect. The court of appeals concluded that the trial court did err by instructing the jury separately on the consumer expectation test, because the test already comprises an element of the risk-benefit test. Walker v. Ford Motor Co., 2015 COA 124, ¶¶ 26–28, __ P.3d __.
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Appellate court, Product liability, Consumer expectation test