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Ford Motor Co. v. Zahn

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
265 F.2d 729 (1959)


Marvin Zahn (plaintiff) was riding in a car manufactured by Ford Motor Company (Ford) (defendant). Zahn leaned forward to retrieve a cigarette, and the driver of the car slammed on the brakes to avoid another car. Zahn’s head jolted forward into a sharp protrusion extending from an ashtray that was mounted on the dashboard. Zahn lost his eye as a result. Zahn sued for negligence, alleging that the protrusion should not have been there and had been caused by a dull cutting die in the manufacturing process. Ford argued that its inspection was reasonable in light of the foreseeable risk of injury. Specifically, Ford stated that a lost eye was not a reasonably foreseeable injury resulting from the defect. A Ford witness testified that the ashtray-inspection process was a sampling operation, in that Ford did not inspect every ashtray. A jury found in favor of Zahn and awarded him $26,350. Ford appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Matthes, J.)

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