Green v. Denney
Oregon Court of Appeals
742 P.2d 639 (1987)
Steven Green (plaintiff) was driving his Ford Pinto with his wife when he hit a horse on the highway. The horse hit the roof rail, or “header,” at the top of the windshield on the passenger side, collapsing it and killing Green’s wife instantly. After settling with the horse’s owner, Clemens Denney (codefendant), Green pursued a products-liability claim for defective design of the Pinto’s roof against Ford Motor Company (codefendant). The evidence showed that Ford designed the roof unusually by eliminating a support beam and numerous welds to make the metal thinner and accommodate a “lighting” hole in the middle panel. Ford also had trouble testing its design. Green offered evidence showing that accidents involving hitting large animals like horses are common and foreseeable. Green’s expert testified that Ford could have reinforced the roof so it would not collapse on the passenger’s head, and that the amount of force from a horse falling on the roof was less than that required for the Pinto to pass a federal safety test. The trial court refused to grant Ford a directed verdict, and the jury found for Green. Ford appealed, arguing it was entitled to a directed verdict because the accident and resulting injury were too bizarre for a reasonable manufacturer to foresee.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Warren, J.)
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