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O'Brien v. Muskin Corp.

New Jersey Supreme Court
463 A.2d 298 (N.J. 1983)


Facts

Gary O’Brien (plaintiff) dove into a shallow, above-ground pool manufactured by Muskin (defendant) and hit his head on the bottom, sustaining injuries. O’Brien brought suit on a theory of strict products liability, claiming that the pool was defectively designed because the bottom was slippery, and the pool’s warning about diving was inadequate. The trial court instructed the jury on strict liability but took from the jury the question of whether manufacturing a pool with a slippery vinyl liner constituted a design defect. The jury found that Muskin was 15 percent at fault and O'Brien 85 percent at fault, and accordingly, O'Brien was barred from recovery under New Jersey's comparative-negligence law. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that the trial court erred in removing the design-defect issue from the jury. The Supreme Court of New Jersey granted certification.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Schreiber, J.)

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