In the now famous case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Company the New York Court of Appeals was faced with the question of the liability of a motor manufacturer to a plaintiff who had purchased a car from a retailer and who had been injured at the time of the coIIapse of a defective wheel. In deciding that such a manufacturer owed a duty to use reasonable care in inspection of the wheels which were to be placed under the assembled car, Justice Cardozo said: "We hold, then, that the principle of Thomas v. Winchester is not limited to poisons, explosives, and things of like nature, to things which in their normal operation are implements of destruction. If the nature of a thing is such that it is reasonably certain to place life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is a thing of danger." But that case left undecided two very interesting questions: first, is there such liability if, under the circumstances, it is clear that the vendor cannot make the final inspection? And second, is recovery to be aIIowed for property damage under the theory announced in the MacPherson case? These questions were met in a recent Wisconsin case, Marsh Wood Products Company v. Babcock & Wilcox Company.The defendant sold the plaintiff a number of boiler tubes, some of which had been manufactured from defective steel. A tube exploded and injured a co-plaintiff employee as well as the plaintiff's real property. There was a judgment for the plaintiffs permitting a recovery in each case, and, upon a writ of error, it was held that a manufacturer may be liable though the purchaser may be expected to make new tests before putting the article into permanent use, and that the manufacturer's liability is to be extended to cover property damage proximately resulting from the negligence of the defendant.

Included in

Torts Commons