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Daly v. General Motors Corp.
Supreme Court of California
575 P.2d 1162 (Cal. 1978)
Daly was driving his car on the freeway between 50 and 70 miles per hour when it struck a metal divider. The car spun around, and Daly was forcibly thrown from the vehicle. He was killed by the impact. Daly's widow and children (plaintiffs) brought suit against General Motors Corporation (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 prevented Daly's forcible ejection from the car and his death. Additionally, GM showed that Daly was not using either of these devices at the time of death, despite the fact that GM had 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 Daly was intoxicated at the time of collision. The jury returned a verdict for GM, and the plaintiffs appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Jefferson, J.)
Dissent (Mosk, J.)
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