Fourth Circuit says plaintiff does not need air bag expert to establish defect.An injured plaintiff does not need to provide an expert to explain an air bag defect in order to establish a products liability case under New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of law, the Fourth Circuit stated in April. (Silvestri v. General Motors Corp., 210 F.3d 240 (4th Cir. Apr. 21, 2000).)
The court vacated the lower court's decision to grant summary judgment to General Motors Corp. and remanded Mark Silvestri's breach of warranty Ask a Lawyer
Country: United States of America
Probably contract law; I live in Michigan; I ordered a used transition from a company in TX. This part is used; I know it's a crap shoot as to how good it is. and products liability case to the lower court for trial. Silvestri's suit claims that he was injured when the air bag in the 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was an American mid-size car. Originally introduced by Chevrolet for the 1970 model year (as competition with the Ford Thunderbird), it has gone through six generations as of 2007. he was driving failed to deploy in a collision. The suit says GM guaranteed that the air bag would deploy when the vehicle struck an object head-on at speeds between 9 and 15 mph.
On November 5, 1994, Silvestri was driving the Monte Carlo Monte Carlo (môNtā` kärlō`), town (1982 pop. 13,150), principality of Monaco, on the Mediterranean Sea and the French Riviera. at about 72 mph when he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road, and struck a utility pole A utility pole, telegraph pole, telephone pole, power pole, or telegraph post is a post or pole upon which telecommunication network equipment is situated. in upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population. . Silvestri's accident reconstruction experts established that the speed at which the car hit the pole was about 50 mph. They also concluded that Silvestri's severe facial injuries facial injuries,
n.pl trauma to the face and its associated structures, most frequently from traffic accidents, contact sports, and domestic conflicts. would not have occurred had the air bag functioned properly. In addition, Silvestri presented evidence that the air bag had not been altered or tampered with before the collision.
The lower court granted summary judgment because Silvestri's reconstruction experts lacked expertise in the operation of an air bag, holding that without that expertise, Silvestri could not establish a prima facie case prima facie case n. a plaintiff's lawsuit or a criminal charge which appears at first blush to be "open and shut." (See: prima facie) .
The Fourth Circuit disagreed. Although Silvestri lives in Baltimore, Judge Paul Niemeyer used New York products liability law because Maryland law requires courts to apply the law of the state in which the injury occurred.
Niemeyer wrote, "Circumstantial EVIDENCE, CIRCUMSTANTIAL. The proof of facts which usually attend other facts sought to be, proved; that which is not direct evidence. For example, when a witness testifies that a man was stabbed with a knife, and that a piece of the blade was found in the wound, and it is found to fit proof is sufficient under New York law to establish a prima facie case in a products liability suit.... New York law establishes that a plaintiff need merely prove that the product did not perform as intended and must exclude all causes of the relevant injuries not attributable to the defendant."
Niemeyer wrote that the plaintiff's evidence was sufficient for a "jury to `infer' that a defect in the air bag caused Silvestri's enhanced injuries" and that Silvestri did not need to enlist an expert to determine and explain the exact cause of the air bag defect.
Silvestri's attorney, Marc Rosen, said the Fourth Circuit's opinion helps plaintiff lawyers avoid the lengthy and prohibitively expensive investigations typically required in a products liability case like the one brought by his client.
"Defendants often rely on the inability of plaintiffs to fund the investigation necessary to prove with precision the fault inside of a failed product. This decision relieves plaintiffs of that burden when there is a product failure," said Rosen, who practices in Baltimore.
"In [Silvestri's] case, the product defect can be inferred by the mere failure of the product."