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Daly v. General Motors Corp.

Supreme Court of California
575 P.2d 1162 (Cal. 1978)


Facts

The decedent of Daly (plaintiff) was driving his car on the freeway between fifty and seventy miles per hour when it struck a metal divider. The car spun around and the decedent was forcibly thrown from the vehicle. He was killed by the impact. Daly brought suit against General Motors Corp. (GM) (defendant), manufacturer of the car, on the ground that the design of the door lock was defective and more prone to opening during a collision. At trial, GM presented evidence showing that the car was equipped with a shoulder-harness seat belt and a door lock which, if used, would have presented the decedent’s forcible ejection from the car and death. Additionally, GM showed the decedent was not using either of these devices at the time of death, despite the fact that it equipped the car with an owner’s manual detailing warnings about the consequences of failing to use these safety precautions. Finally, GM introduced evidence that the decedent was intoxicated at the time of collision. The jury returned a verdict for GM, and Daly appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Jefferson, J.)

Dissent (Mosk, J.)

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