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Schultz v. Ford Motor Co.

857 N.E.2d 977 (2006)

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Schultz v. Ford Motor Co.

Indiana Supreme Court

857 N.E.2d 977 (2006)

Facts

Richard and Gail Schultz (plaintiffs) sued Ford Motor Company (Ford) (defendant) after Richard was injured in a rollover in a Ford vehicle. The Schultzes claimed that a vehicle-design defect had caused the rollover. Under the relevant state law, if a manufacturer established that its product had complied with applicable codes and regulations before it was sold, that fact created a rebuttable presumption that the product was not defective. At trial, the court instructed the jury that if Ford had proved that its vehicle had complied with a particular federal standard, (1) the jury could presume that the vehicle’s design was not defective, and (2) the Schultzes could rebut this presumption with evidence that the vehicle was actually defective. The jury found for Ford. The Schultzes appealed, arguing that the trial court’s presumption instruction was incorrect.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

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