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Hall v. General Motors Corp.

647 F.2d 175 (1980)

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Hall v. General Motors Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

647 F.2d 175 (1980)

Facts

Georgia Hall (plaintiff) was driving her car manufactured by General Motors Corporation (GM) (defendant) on a clear, dry day when it veered off the road, causing her serious injuries. Hall sued GM, claiming that a defective drive shaft caused the accident. GM claimed that the accident was caused by Hall’s momentary lapse in attention followed by her panicking and hitting the accelerator instead of the brake. To disprove Hall’s theory, GM sought to introduce a series of tests. In the first test, GM taped a drive shaft to a car rather than bolting it. Another car then pushed that car until it reached Hall’s approximate speed at the time of the accident. At that point, the car was shifted into drive. The trial judge excluded this test from evidence. In GM’s second test, the drive shaft’s yokes were bolted to the car and then increasingly weakened to see what would happen when the drive shaft came loose. The drive shaft never came loose. The trial judge admitted expert testimony explaining this second test but excluded videos of the test. The trial court entered a judgment in Hall’s favor. GM appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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