United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
166 F. Supp. 2d 240 (2001)
John Gower (plaintiff), who had substantial training and experience in using firearms, purchased a Savage Model 99C rifle from a retail store in 1989. The rifle was manufactured by Savage Industries, Inc. in 1987. Savage Industries shipped its rifles to retailers in boxes that contained instructions. Gower’s rife, however, had been sold to him “off the rack,” without its box or any instructions. In 1988, Savage Industries filed for bankruptcy and transferred its Model 99C product line to a company it set up called Savage Arms, Inc. (defendant). In 1997, Gower was about to unload the rifle after a day of hunting when it discharged, shooting him in the foot. The gun was in the “safe” position at the time. Gower and his wife Debra (plaintiff) sued Savage Arms and Savage Sports Corporation (defendant), alleging that defendants bore successor liability to the Gowers on the grounds that the rifle had insufficient warnings and the following defects: (1) a design defect that prevented the rifle from being unloaded in the “safe” position (“unloading defect”); (2) a design defect in the rifle’s lack of a detent system to improve safety (“detent defect”); and (3) a manufacturing defect that resulted in Gower’s particular rifle having a small metal ridge that caused the safety mechanism to gradually fail (“manufacturing defect”). The Gowers’ claims regarding the detent defect and manufacturing defect were supported by their expert, James Mason. Mason opined that a detent system would make the rifle more “user friendly” even though the existing set-up was “adequate.” He offered evidence of the manufacturing defect by comparing Gower’s rifle to an exemplar in the same product line: Gower’s rifle clearly deviated from the exemplar. Defendants moved for summary judgment while a Daubert motion regarding the admissibility of Mason’s expert opinion was also pending.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McLaughlin, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.