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Speller v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Court of Appeals of New York
790 N.E.2d 252 (N.Y. 2003)


Facts

Sandra Speller, the decedent of Speller (plaintiff), died in a house fire allegedly started by a refrigerator manufactured by Whirlpool (defendant) and sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Sears) (defendant). Speller brought suit against the two companies and the property owner alleging negligence, strict products liability, and breach of warranty. The defendants disputed the cause of the fire, but Speller submitted expert testimony suggesting the fire could have been started from electrical wiring in the decedent’s refrigerator. A third expert stated that the fire would not have started from the refrigerator wiring unless the product was defective. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, and Speller appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Graffeo, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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