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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 13 Strict Liability and Product Liability Case 13.1 283 F.3d 33, 51 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1310, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 16,251 United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Kathleen Madaline JARVIS, Individually and as a parent and guardian of Paul Michael Attila Jarvis, a minor, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee. Docket Nos. 99-9405(L), 00-9215(CON). Argued May 14, 2001. Decided Feb. 7, 2002. SOTOMAYOR , Circuit Judge. A six-day-old 1991 Ford Aerostar driven by plaintiff-appellant Kathleen Jarvis suddenly accelerated, resulting in an accident from which Jarvis sustained serious injuries. Jarvis contends that the Aerostar "took off" without her depressing the accel- erator and that she was unable to stop the van by pumping the brakes. Jarvis sued defendant-appellee Ford Motor Company ("Ford") in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Buchwald, J.) claiming, inter alia, that Ford was negligent and should be held strictly liable for the design of the Aerostar's cruise control mechanism. A jury returned a verdict for Jarvis on her negligence claim but not on her strict products liability claim and awarded her damages. Ford objected to the verdict as inconsistent. The district court agreed but did not assign a remedy because it held that the evidence was insufficient to support a verdict for Jarvis, granting Ford's Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) motion for judgment as a matter of law and dismissing the complaint. For the sake of completeness, the court also granted Ford's motion to reduce the amount of the verdict because of collateral source payments pursuant to 252 253 CASE PRINTOUTS TO ACCOMPANY WEST’S LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS N.Y.C.P.L.R. 4545 . We vacate the grant of judgment as a matter of law for Ford and remand for the district court to reinstate the jury verdict and award of damages as adjusted by the collateral source payments. Jarvis's evidence, if credited by the jury, was suffi- cient to establish that the Aerostar malfunctioned due to Ford's negligent design. To prove negligence, Jarvis was not re- quired to establish what specific defect caused the Aerostar to malfunction. Ford, for its part, did not prove that a malfunc- tion was so unlikely as to warrant judgment as a matter of law in its favor. We also hold that the district court failed to apply the correct legal standard to Ford's objection to an allegedly inconsistent verdict. Applying the correct standard under Fed.R.Civ.P. 51 , we find that Ford waived any claim of error by failing to state distinctly the nature and basis of its objection before the jury retired to deliberate and that there was no fundamental error...
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2010 for the course LGST 205 taught by Professor Screen during the Spring '07 term at Loyola New Orleans.
- Spring '07