In Ritter v Narragansett Co. a four-year-old girl was injured when she used an oven door as a stepstool to stand on so that she could peak into a pot on the top of the stove, her weight caused the stove to tip over, causing serious injury to the child. the first question concerns a possible defective design. was the stove defective because it could not support thirty pounds on the oven door without tipping? A foreseeable use of the stove could involve placing a heavy roasting pan on the oven door while checking food during preparation. if the stove tipped over and injured the cook during this use, it is very likely that a court would rule against the manufacturer on the grounds of a design defect. the manufacturer should have foreseen the use of the door as a shelf. could the manufacturer foresee the use of the door as a step-stool? should it matter, since the product was defective in this regard anyway
Vincer v Esther Williams Swimming Pool Co concerned a two-year-old boy who climbed the ladder of an above-ground swimming pool at his grandparents’ house and fell into the pool. he remained under water for some time before being rescued. as a result, he suffered severe and permanent brain damage. his family sued the manufacturer, claiming that the pool should have had a self-closing gate and/or an automatically retractable ladder. knowing that children are attracted to swimming pools and knowing that many children drown each year because of such accidents, should the manufacturer have foreseen this possibility? was it “unreasonable ” not to include protections against such an accident in the design of the swimming pool?
Courts ruled against the manufacturer in Ritter, and in favor of the manufacturer in Vincer. Do you agree? why or why not?
Does your determination of ” reasonably safe product” depend on the person who is using it? If so, are any products “reasonably safe” where children are concerned? if so, who decides what is ” reasonable”?
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