Tiffin University Denny v. Ford Motor Company MGT623 Legal and Ethical Issues in Management Dr. Scott Basinger Submitted by: Ashley N. Brown 10-07-12 Denny v. Ford Motor Company Nancy Denny believed she was buying a Bronco II, which gave her the ability to switch between two-wheel and four wheel drive. According to the sales manual this feature would be appealing to women due to the vehicles’ ability to drive safer on snow and ice. Nancy Denny bought the vehicle due to the benefits of the four wheel drive and additionally, she had not interest in using the vehicle for off road purposes.
It could be said that the information provided in the manual were somewhat misleading, especially for those not familiar with cars and the different safety features they provide. However, Nancy was buying for all tense and purposes an off road vehicle. My problem with the statements provided about the use of the vehicle laid in the fact all sales people say and do anything to make a car more appealing to the buyer. In this case, Nancy was sold a vehicle with four wheel drive, but was flawed in making sire the safety features were up to par for a passenger vehicle.
Nancy approached a legal battle on three grounds. First, was a strict products liability. A manufacturer who places a product on the market in a defective condition is liable for injury which results from use of the product when the product is used for its intended or reasonably foreseeable purpose. In order for Nancy to use this claim the she had to prove by that Ford Motor Company placed the Bronco II on the market in a defective condition. According to the United States Second Circuit of appeals, “A product is defective if it is not reasonably safe.
I instruct you that if the Bronco II, at the time it left the seller's hands, was so likely to be harmful to people that a reasonable manufacturer or person who had actual knowledge of its potential for producing injury would conclude that it should not have been placed into the stream of commerce in that fashion. ” The second reason is negligence, which again comes back to whether or not the person selling or Ford knew the product was defective. Finally, the third reason is a breach of warranty claim.
The law implies a warranty by a manufacturer which places its product on the market that the product is reasonably fit for the ordinary purpose for which it was intended. If it is, in fact, defective and not reasonably fit to be used for its intended purpose, the warranty is breached. Ultimately, Nancy Denny won because the court found that defendant had, “breached its implied warranty of merchantability and that the breach was the proximate cause of Nancy Denny's injuries”.
Ford may have avoided these liabilities had they marketed the vehicles manual towards off road only, or had they proved product safety was “reasonable” to drive in ordinary circumstances. Judge Simons dissented on the case stating he felt consumer expectation had no place in personal injury litigation. His reasoning seemed to place absolute burden on a manufacturer in all cases. His reasoning’s stated “ordinary uses” and “intended and reasonably foreseeable” implied warranties. If this were the case it would be hard to determine the definition of “defective” and “reasonable” to provide a decision in other cases.
Any other decisions that would arise in similar cases would ultimately place the burden on the manufacturer to prove there was no defectiveness and the product could be used in any sort of circumstances. The Saray Perez v. Wyeth Laboratories Inc. is similar to the Denny v. Ford Motor Company case in that they both have a “second party” involved in a way. Both manufacturers send their products to people who sell them to the consumer. The seller is responsible in both cases for the consumer having full knowledge of the product.
In the Ford case, Denny was sold the car by a salesperson. The sales person sold the car based in the Ford manual and its appeal to women. In the Perez case Wyeth sold its Norplant drug to a Dr. , who in turn satisfied a patient as to the benefits of the product. Both of these circumstances involved another party helping a consumer make a purchase. The only substantial difference is in a medical field the Dr. should make the decision based on the patient (consumer), and will knowingly continue their care.
In the purchase of a car there may be is no diagnosis of specific relationship with a consumer that would help the salesman help the consumer with their purchase, nor is there a continued relationship with the salesman after the purchase is made. Both of the law suits are based on the premise of some sort of negligence in the manufacturers’ sale of the product. Both manufacturers could have avoided these suites by better testing or warning placed on their products. References Halbert, T. , & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law & ethics in the business environment (7th ed. ). Mason, OH: South-Western.