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Rotche v. Buick Motor Co.

193 N.E. 529 (1934)

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Rotche v. Buick Motor Co.

Illinois Supreme Court

193 N.E. 529 (1934)

Facts

Nathan Rotche (plaintiff) bought a Buick automobile from Cicero Sales Company (Cicero) (defendant) that was manufactured by Buick Motor Company (Buick) (defendant). Less than a month later, Rotche drove the car off the highway and crashed in a field. Rotche was injured and required surgery. The car was damaged. The clevis (a type of fastener) connecting a cable to one of the breaks was missing. Rotche had driven the car about 600 miles prior to the crash and he had had no issues with the brakes. Tire marks at the scene of the crash showed the brakes were working prior to the crash. The car was towed to a garage. Several weeks later, the garage owner examined the car. Upon examination, the garage owner found that a clevis and two cotter pins (another type of fastener) were missing in addition to some cotter pins that had not been spread (a necessary step in installation) and could be easily removed. Rotche brought an action against Buick and Cicero for negligent construction. At trial, Buick entered evidence of its inspection process. Buick’s inspection records did not indicate there were any issues with Rotche’s car at the time of inspection. Cicero also introduced evidence of its inspections. Two Cicero employees thoroughly inspected Rotche’s car prior to delivery. Both employees testified that all clevises and cotter pins were properly in place at the time of sale. In addition, Cicero had a written record of the inspection. The trial court found for Rotche. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding. Buick and Cicero appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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