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Lewis v. Mobil Oil Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
438 F.2d 500 (1971)


Facts

Lewis (plaintiff), a sawmill operator, decided to convert his sawmill to hydraulic equipment. He purchased a used hydraulic system which was in good working order. After Lewis installed this system, he consulted with Frank Rowe (Rowe) who was a local oil dealer for the Mobil Oil Corporation (Mobil) (defendant) with regard to what type of hydraulic oil was needed to operate the equipment. The only information Lewis gave Rowe was that his equipment used a Commercial gear-type pump and Rowe did not request further information. Neither Lewis nor Rowe knew what oil was needed for the hydraulic equipment and Rowe knew that Lewis did not have this type of information. Rowe sold Lewis Mobil's Ambrex 810, a mineral oil without additives. Rowe relied upon a recommendation of a superior at Mobil in selling Ambrex 810. Using this oil for approximately two years, Lewis had trouble with his equipment. Lewis then changed the pump from the Commercial brand to the Tyrone brand, but still used Ambrex 810 after confirmation from Rowe that Ambrex 810 was recommended for the Tyrone pump. After the Tyrone pump broke down three weeks later, Lewis met with representatives from Mobil and Tyrone. Lewis' equipment was flushed and cleaned, a new Tyrone pump installed and a new oil was used which included a defoamant. After switching to the new oil, Lewis' equipment operated properly. Judgment was entered upon a jury verdict in favor of Lewis and Mobil appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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