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Honda of America Mfg., Inc. v. Norman

Texas Court of Appeals
104 S.W.2d 600 (2003)


Facts

Karen accidentally backed her car down a boat ramp into the water. The passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was able to exit the car. However, Karen was unable to escape from her seatbelt and drowned. Honda (defendant) had manufactured the car and seatbelt system, which included an automatic shoulder belt that moved into place using a “mouse” that ran above the door. Honda placed a release button behind the driver’s left shoulder. Karen’s representatives, including Norman (plaintiff), brought a strict liability claim against Honda for the defective design of the seatbelt system, claiming that the seatbelt’s mouse locked Karen into the car and that she was unable to reach the release button. At trial, Norman offered several alternative seatbelt designs and offered evidence showing that another car manufacturer used one of these designs. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Norman.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Keyes, J.)

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