Denny v. Ford Motor Company

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According to the sales manual, Nancy Denny bought a Bronco II for its ability to switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive. The manual stated that this feature would appeal to women as it would provide safer driving on snowy and icy roads. Nancy Denny was particularly interested in the four-wheel drive capability and had no plans of using the vehicle off-road.

It could be argued that the manual’s information was somewhat misleading, particularly for those unfamiliar with cars and their various safety features. However, Nancy was purchasing an off-road vehicle. My issue with the statements regarding the vehicle’s usage was that salespeople will say and do anything to make a car more appealing to buyers. In this instance, Nancy bought a vehicle with four-wheel drive but its safety features were not adequate for a passenger vehicle.

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Nancy initiated legal action on three fronts: strict products liability, proving that Ford Motor Company released the Bronco II in a defective condition; a manufacturer is responsible for injuries resulting from the intended or reasonably foreseeable use of a defective product. The United States Second Circuit of appeals states that a product is considered defective if it lacks reasonable safety.

If it is determined that the Bronco II presented a substantial danger upon sale and following instructions, a responsible manufacturer or informed individual would recognize that it should not have been distributed in such a manner. Additionally, negligence should be taken into account regarding whether the seller or Ford were aware of the product’s flaw. Lastly, there is an allegation of breaching warranty.

According to the law, the manufacturer must make sure their product is appropriate for its intended use. If the product is faulty and cannot be used as intended, this requirement is not fulfilled. In Nancy Denny’s case, the court found that the defendant had violated their assumed guarantee by not providing a product of satisfactory quality. As a result of this violation, Nancy Denny experienced injuries.

Ford could have potentially avoided these liabilities if they had advertised the vehicles as suitable for use only in off-road scenarios or if they were able to prove that the product was reasonably safe for driving under normal circumstances. However, Judge Simons disagreed with this approach and argued that consumer expectations should not be considered in personal injury lawsuits. He believed that manufacturers should accept all responsibility without any exceptions. According to him, warranties should cover both “ordinary uses” and those that are “intended and reasonably foreseeable.” If this viewpoint became widely accepted, it would be challenging to define the terms “defective” and “reasonable” when making judgments in other cases.

In similar cases, any other decisions would ultimately require the manufacturer to demonstrate the absence of defects and the product’s suitability for various circumstances. The Saray Perez v. Wyeth Laboratories Inc. case shares similarities with the Denny v. Ford Motor Company case in that they both involve a “second party.” Both manufacturers distribute their products to individuals who then sell them to consumers. In both cases, the sellers bear responsibility for ensuring that consumers possess complete knowledge about the product.

Both the Ford and Perez cases revolve around a product being sold to a consumer with the aid of another party. In the Ford case, a car was sold to Denny by a salesperson who highlighted the features stated in the Ford manual and appealed to female customers. In the Perez case, Wyeth sold its Norplant drug to a doctor who subsequently persuaded a patient about its advantages. The key difference between these two scenarios lies in the fact that within the medical industry, it is essential for doctors to make decisions based on their patients’ (consumers’) needs and continue providing care with awareness.

When buying a car, the consumer and salesman usually lack any personal connection. This absence of relationship persists even after the purchase is made. Lawsuits against both manufacturers stem from the belief that there was negligence in their product sales. These lawsuits could have been avoided if better testing had been conducted or warnings about the products had been provided.


  1. Halbert, T. , & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law & ethics in the business environment (7th ed. ). Mason, OH: South-Western.

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Denny v. Ford Motor Company. (2016, Nov 25). Retrieved from

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