Andren v. White-Rodgers Co.

465 N.W.2d 102 (1991)

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Andren v. White-Rodgers Co.

Minnesota Court of Appeals
465 N.W.2d 102 (1991)

Facts

Robert Andren (plaintiff) entered the basement of his cabin and smelled a strong smell of propane gas. Earlier, Andren had bought a used space heater for his cabin’s basement and installed it himself. As Andren evaluated the source of the gas leak, he voluntarily decided to light a cigarette. The gas exploded, and the basement caught fire. Andren was severely burned. Andren brought products-liability actions for breach of warranty, strict liability, and negligence, claiming the space heater contained a defective regulator. Andren sued White-Rodgers Co., the space-heater manufacturer, Sears, Roebuck & Co., the space-heater retailer, and Flexan Corp., the manufacturer of the space heater’s regulator (collectively, the space-heater companies) (defendants). At trial, Andren testified he was aware that the smell of propane indicated a potentially dangerous propane-gas leak. Andren testified he had installed over 100 propane-gas heaters before installing the gas heater in his cabin. Andren also testified he knew the dangers of smoking or lighting a match near propane gas. The space-heater companies moved for summary judgment, arguing that Andren assumed the risks posed by the defective space heater when he lit a cigarette in a room in which he suspected there was a propane leak. The trial court granted the motion. Andren appealed to the state appellate court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Short, J.)

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