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Jackson v. General Motors Corp.

Tennessee Supreme Court
60 S.W.3d 800 (2001)


Facts

Mounce Jackson (plaintiff) was driving a vehicle manufactured by General Motors Corp. (GM) (defendant) when slick road conditions caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Jackson crashed into a tree, traveling at approximately 19 to 23 miles per hour at the time of the crash. Jackson was wearing his seatbelt; nonetheless, he received multiple fractures to his face when his jaw hit the steering wheel upon impact. Jackson asserted that his seat was positioned as far from the steering wheel as possible. He sued GM in a products-liability action in federal district court, alleging that the steering wheel was “unreasonably dangerous.” The district court granted summary judgment to GM. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit certified a question to the Tennessee Supreme Court: under Tennessee law, could the plaintiff rely upon the “consumer expectation test” to establish that the seatbelt was “unreasonably dangerous”?

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Drowota III, C.J.)

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