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Skinner v. Reed-Prentice Division

374 N.E.2d 437 (1978)

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Skinner v. Reed-Prentice Division

Illinois Supreme Court

374 N.E.2d 437 (1978)

Facts

Rita Rae Skinner (plaintiff) was injured by an injection-molding machine that was manufactured by Reed-Prentice Division Package Machinery Co. (Reed-Prentice) (defendant). Skinner alleged that the machine malfunctioned and sued Reed-Prentice in tort for strict liability. Reed-Prentice filed a third-party complaint for contribution against Skinner’s employer, Hinckley Plastic, Inc., and alleged that the employer’s negligence contributed to cause Skinner’s injuries and that any judgment entered against Reed-Prentice should be entered against the employer for contribution in an amount commensurate with its culpability for Skinner’s injuries. The trial court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss the third-party complaint against it, and the appellate court affirmed. Reed-Prentice appealed and argued that if the court adopted a rule of contribution in this case, it should be based on the relative degree of fault and not equal apportionment among the number of wrongdoers. The employer argued that vis-à-vis Reed-Prentice, it was a passive tortfeasor and that a manufacturer like Reed-Prentice that is held strictly liable in tort is an active tortfeasor with no claim for indemnity from a passive tortfeasor.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Goldenhersh, J.)

Dissent (Dooley, J.)

Dissent (Ward, C.J.)

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