Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Rix v. General Motors Corp.

Montana Supreme Court
723 P.2d 195 (Mont. 1986)


Facts

Michael Rix (plaintiff) was rear-ended by a truck manufactured and sold by General Motors Corp. (GMC) (defendant). A GMC dealer had installed a water tank on the truck after the sale. GMC stipulated that a defective brake tube caused the accident, but contended that the defect was the result of alterations to the tube sometime after manufacture. Rix sued in Yellowstone County District Court on a theory of strict liability, arguing that there was a manufacturing defect in the tube and that GMC had defectively designed the vehicle by failing to install a dual-braking system, which was necessary based on the foreseeable use of the truck. GMC asserted that its design was safe and that the accident would have occurred even if the truck had a dual-braking system. The trial court instructed the jury that “one who sells a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer” is strictly liable for the harm caused by the product if (1) the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product,” and (2) the product reaches the consumer “without substantial change in the condition.” The trial court further instructed the jury in Instruction No. 11 that Rix had to prove that GMC manufactured and sold the truck “which at the time General Motors sold it was in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the consumer,” and that the truck reached the user without substantial change. The jury found for GMC, and Rix appealed to the Supreme Court of Montana, where he argued that the Jury Instruction No. 11 was improper.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Weber, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 236,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.