Williams v. Smart Chevrolet Co.

730 S.W.2d 479 (1987)

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Williams v. Smart Chevrolet Co.

Arkansas Supreme Court
730 S.W.2d 479 (1987)

KL

Facts

Jerrie Williams (plaintiff) bought a car from Smart Chevrolet Co. (Smart) (defendant). A few days later, Williams began having trouble with the driver’s side door. The door was difficult to close and would come loose after being closed and locked. Williams took the car back to Smart to have the door fixed. Smart alleged that it had fixed the car, but the door continued to come loose while Williams was driving. A month later, the door flew open while Williams was driving 10 miles per hour down a straight, level gravel road. Williams fell out of the car and was injured. Williams alleged that she remembered closing and locking the door. After the accident, Williams saw that three screws on the door latch had loosened. Williams took the car back to Smart to be fixed, but the door continued to come loose. Williams filed suit against Smart, claiming that Smart was strictly liable for her injuries caused by the defective car door, among other claims. Williams hired an expert witness, who testified at trial that he had inspected and test-driven the car but had never been able to get the door to open all the way. The expert also testified that although the door had an alignment problem that caused it to come loose, there were no defective parts that would cause the door to open all the way. After Williams presented her case, Smart filed a motion for a directed verdict, which the trial court granted. Williams appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Holt, C.J.)

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