Richard Dawson (plaintiff) was paralyzed when his car slipped on a wet road and crashed into a pole. The pole went right through his car’s frame upon impact, causing his injury. Dawson brought suit against Chrysler Corp. (Chrysler) (defendant), the manufacturer of the car, claiming that if the car’s frame had been built to the proper strength, his injury would have been avoided. At trial, Dawson brought forth evidence that a stronger frame would have decreased the risk of injury and still met federal safety standards, albeit increasing the cost of the cars. The jury ruled in favor of Dawson and the district court denied Chrysler’s motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a new trial. Chrysler appealed.