Generally, wholesalers are strictly liable for defects in the products they sell. But some courts find no liability for latent or hidden defects if the wholesaler sells the products in exactly the same condition it received them.
Generally, retailers are held strictly liable because they have a duty to inspect and care for the products.
D. Sellers of Used Goods and Occasional Sellers
Occasional sellers (garage sales) of used goods are usually not held strictly liable because they are not within the original chain of distribution of the product and their products are sold “as is.” A seller of used goods is, however, strictly liable for any defective repairs or ...view middle of the document...
4--Crews v. Hollenbach.
John Hollenbach, an employee of Honcho & Sons, Inc., was excavating land for Honcho in its role as a sub-contractor of Excalibur Cable Communications a subcontractor of Maryland Cable Partners, L.P. During his work, Hollenbach struck a buried natural gas line owned by Washington Gas Light Company and caused a leak in the line. Gas escaped into the air and, as a result, the neighborhood where the gas line was located had to be evacuated. The fire department notified Washington Gas, which dispatched a repair crew to the scene of the leak. Lee James Crews, an employee of Washington gas for over twenty years, was the foreman of the gas line repair team dispatched to repair the leak. While he and his crew worked to repair the leak, the gas ignited and an explosion occurred, seriously injuring Crews. Crews sued Hollenbach, Honcho & Sons, Excalibur Cable Communications, Maryland Cable Partners and Byers Engineering Company (which marked the utility lines), claiming negligence and strict liability. The trial court dismissed the case on the grounds that Crews assumed the risk as part of his job. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the judgment. Crews appealed.
ISSUE: Is assumption of risk a viable defense against a suit by an employee hired to repair gas leaks who was injured during the process of repair? HELD: Affirmed.
B. Comparative Fault
Contributory negligence by the plaintiff is not a defense in a strict liability action. However, the plaintiff’s damages may be reduced by the degree to which his or her own negligence contributed to the injury.
C. Obvious Risk
Manufacturers will generally not be liable for injuries if the use of a product carries a risk that is obvious. Courts reason that a manufacturer need not warn of a certain danger if it is generally known and recognized.
D. Unforeseeable Misuse of the Product