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Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Young

Maryland Court of Appeals
321 A.2d 737 (1974)


The decedent of Young (plaintiff) was driving his Volkswagen Beetle, manufactured by Volkswagen of American, Inc. (Volkswagen) (defendant), when he stopped at a red light. The decedent’s car was hit from behind by a 1967 Ford being negligently driven by William Benson. The collision pushed the decedent’s car forward. As a result, the seat bracketing pieces and seat adjustment mechanisms broke away from the car, and the decedent was hurled into the rear of his vehicle. The decedent was killed by injuries to his head and neck suffered in this “second collision.” Young brought suit against Volkswagen in federal district court on the ground that the Beetle was “defectively designed, manufactured, and marketed with defects which rendered it structurally hazardous, not merchantable, and not fit for the purpose intended.” She also alleged that the seat structure was especially vulnerable to separation from the vehicle floor during collision. The district court certified to the Maryland Court of Appeals the question of whether the “intended use” of a vehicle pertains to its involvement in a collision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Eldridge, J.)

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