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Dugan v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Appellate Court of Illinois
454 N.E.2d 64 (1983)


Facts

Carol Favia owned a lawnmower manufactured by Roper Corporation (Roper) (defendant) and sold by Sears, Roebuck & Company (Sears) (defendant). The lawnmower’s owner’s manual warned that no one other than the user of the lawnmower should be near the machine when in use. The manual also specifically warned to keep children away from the lawnmower while in the mower was in use. Favia was mowing her lawn with her Sears lawnmower, and Steve Dugan (plaintiff), a minor child, was sitting nearby. The lawnmower shot a small piece of plastic out of its discharge chute, blinding Dugan in one eye. Dugan filed a products-liability suit against Sears on the basis of strict liability. The defendants argued that even assuming their lawnmower was unreasonably dangerous, Favia’s act in failing to heed the manufacturer’s warnings was a superseding cause that was the sole proximate cause of Dugan’s injury. Dugan argued that Favia’s conduct was reasonably foreseeable, rendering Roper and Sears liable under a theory of strict liability. The jury found in favor of Roper and Sears. Dugan appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lorenz, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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