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Resch v. Volkswagen of America, Inc.

California Supreme Court
685 P. 2d 1178 (1984)


Facts

Resch (plaintiff) purchased a Volkswagen vehicle and sued Volkswagen of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) (defendant). Resch alleged that the vehicle had a design defect and a manufacturing defect, which caused injury to Resch. The jury returned three special verdicts. First, the jury unanimously determined that there was no design defect. Second, nine of the 12 jurors determined that there was a manufacturing defect. And third, 10 of 12 jurors determined that the manufacturing defect was not a substantial factor in causing Resch’s injuries. Only seven of the nine jurors from the second verdict joined in the third verdict, which meant that three of the 10 jurors who said the manufacturing defect was not a legal cause of Resch’s injury had found no manufacturing defect at all. Resch moved for a mistrial, arguing that the verdicts were logically inconsistent. Resch argued that nine identical jurors were required for the second and third verdicts because in order to join a verdict as to the manufacturing defect’s causation, a juror would also have to join the verdict as to the manufacturing defect’s existence. The trial court denied the motion, and Resch appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Broussard, J.)

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