Critical Thinking on Legal Issues
The National Construction has a cause of action against WV Steel Company. Under the common law of negligence, the manufacturer has a responsibility to ensure that its products that are sold to consumers are not defective. As such, manufacturers are liable for any injuries or harm sustained by the consumers due to the defectiveness in the design or manufacturing process of its products. On top of this, the manufacturer is responsible for giving effective warnings of dangers involved in the use of the product. The manufacturer is liable for the injuries caused by a failure to give effective warning regarding the use of the product (Best & Barnes, 2007).
In the current scenario, the steel cable sold to the National Construction was not defective in either the design or manufacturing process. However, WV Steel did not give effective warnings regarding the use of steel cable. WV Steel ought to have given effective warnings regarding the weight that the steel cable could withstand. The warning would have led National Construction to seek for a better option. In this regard, WV Steel is liable for injuries and harm that occurred during the incident. If WV Steel had given a warning, the National Construction would not have a cause of action against it. The legal issue sends a message to both small and large businesses that on top of ensuring that the products they manufacturer are effective, they should give effective warnings regarding the use of their products. Otherwise, they are liable for any injuries or harm sustained by the users for lack of such warnings.
About the second issue, the passengers have a cause of action against WV Steel. However, they do not have a cause of action against Jessica. Using the common law of negligence, the employer is held responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee, which occur while performing job duties (Best & Barnes, 2007). Therefore, WV Steel is liable for the injuries and harm that occurred during the incident. In this case, the accident occurred when Jessica was performing job duties for WV Steel. In the case Jessica was doing her own activities, and not the job duties, she would be personally liable for the injuries and harm. The legal implication of the issue to small and large businesses is that they should be aware that they are to be held responsible for injuries or harm caused by the negligent acts of their employees when they produce work that leads to injuries to the victims
In the second case, the defendants are not strictly liable to Johnson. Under the strict liability rule, the defendants, manufacturers, dealers and retailers have a responsibility to ensure that any product that is passed on to the consumer is not defective (Dunham, 2011). As such, they are liable to the consumer for any injuries occurring because of the defectiveness of the product. In the current case, GMC, Chevrolet and the dealership are liable for Johnson for injuries caused by the inadequate seatbelt. For the strict liability rule to apply, Johnson must prove that the seatbelt was defective during the time when the car was sold to him. Secondly, Johnson must show that the defendants expected the car reach him without any changes to the seatbelt. Lastly, Johnson must show that injuries that occurred during the accident were caused by the defectiveness of the seatbelt.
Johnson managed to provide the above proofs to support his case for strict liability. However, strict liability rule does not apply if there is evidence that the plaintiff carelessness contributed to the injuries. During the time of the accident, Johnson’s actions involved carelessness; he was texting his girlfriend while still driving. In other words, Johnson’s careless actions contributed to the injuries sustained during the accident. In this regard, the rule of strict liability ceases to apply. If Johnson were not involved in careless driving, the law could have applied. Such an issue has an impact to both small and large businesses. In particular, all businesses (including manufacturers, retailers and dealers) need to know that they are liable to consumers for any injuries caused by defective products they sell. However, they can also defend such cases in case the consumers’ careless actions contribute to the injuries (Dunham, 2011).
Best, A. & Barnes, D. W. (2007). Basic Tort Law: Cases, Statutes, and Problems. New York,
NY: Aspen Publishers Online
Dunham, B.W. (2011). Introduction to Law. New York, NY: Cengage Learning