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Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Tincher decision held not to alter the law governing vehicle crashworthiness cases.

April 1, 2016
Cancelleri v. Ford Motor Company, No. 267 MDA 2015, 2016 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 53 (Pa. Super. Ct. Jan. 7, 2016)

The plaintiff was operating a Ford vehicle when he was in a head-on collision. He attributed his injuries to a defect in the vehicle because the air bag did not deploy. Ford argued that the question of whether the product was “unreasonably dangerous,” and evidence of government and industry design standards, were both wrongfully withheld from the jury for consideration in deciding whether the vehicle was defective, asserting that the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Tincher v. OmegaFlex allowed it. The Superior Court rejected this, concluding that Tincher does not govern crashworthiness cases and, further, that the modification to product liability litigation brought about by Tincher does not conflict with current crashworthiness law. While Cancelleri was not precedential and, thus, cannot be cited in other cases, some view its application of Tincher as a preview for the Superior Court’s anticipated decision in Martinez v. American Honda Motor Company, another crashworthiness case that is in the early stages of the appellate process and involves a verdict almost ten times larger.

 

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 1, 2016

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