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Mason v. American Emery Wheel Works

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
241 F.2d 906 (1st Cir. 1957)


Facts

Mason (plaintiff) was injured by an emery wheel manufactured by American Emery Wheel Works (AEWW) (defendant). Mason was working in Mississippi when the injury occurred and AEWW was a Rhode Island corporation. Mason brought suit in federal court in Rhode Island. AEWW filed a motion to dismiss based on a lack of privity as the emery wheel in question had passed through a number of owners before being bought by Mason’s employer. The district court granted AEWW’s motion to dismiss on the basis of Ford Motor Co. v. Myers (1928), which required privity to sue a manufacturer on a products liability claim. In doing so, however, the district court noted that the modern trend of states was not to require such privity and that it was reluctantly making its decision based on Ford. Mason appealed on the grounds of E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co. v. Ladner (1954). In Du Pont the Supreme Court of Mississippi did not expressly overrule Ford because it disposed of the issue on another ground. However, the Supreme Court of Mississippi did state that “the principle seems now to be well established by the decision of many courts that a person who has had no [privity] with a manufacturer may nevertheless recover from such manufacturer for damages . . . .”

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Magruder, C.J.)

Concurrence (Hartigan, J.)

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