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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Bart Moran was killed when the seat belt in his Dodge Caravan failed to restrain him in a collision with another automobile. Moran’s wife and daughter (the plaintiffs) sued three defendants for causing Mr. Moran’s death. One defendant was AlliedSignal Inc. (Allied), the company which manufactured the seat belt buckle in Moran’s Dodge Caravan. The plaintiffs asserted claims for strict products liability, inter alia, based on a defect in the design of the seat belt buckle. The plaintiffs also sued the manufacturer of the Dodge Caravan, DaimlerChrysler Corporation (DCC), asserting claims for strict products liability based on a design defect in the seat belt buckle. The third defendant sued by the Plaintiffs was Luvh Rakhe, the driver of the automobile that collided with Mr. Moran’s automobile. The plaintiffs sued Rakhe for negligence, alleging that he caused the accident that killed Moran. The case was tried to a jury, which found that Rakhe was at fault for the accident and that Moran had not been negligent. The jury found that Moran was wearing his seat belt immediately before the accident. The jury also found that a design defect in the seat belt buckle at the time it left the possession of DCC was a producing cause of Moran’s death. No strict liability questions were submitted to the jury as to Allied. In a comparative responsibility question, the jury found that Moran’s death was 99 percent attributable to the defective seat belt buckle and 1 percent attributable to the negligence of Rakhe. The trial court entered a final judgment on the verdict over the objections of Allied and DCC. The judgment held Allied and DCC jointly and severally liable for the damages attributable to the defective seat belt buckle. Allied and DCC appealed. Allied raised six issues in its appeal. DCC raised four. Rakhe did not appeal. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered in part, affirmed in part. In its first issue, Allied argued that the plaintiffs “waived their products liability cause of action against Allied by failing to submit a jury issue on whether there was a design defect in the seat belt buckle at the time it left Allied’s possession.” The court agreed. A judgment must be supported by the pleadings, the evidence and the jury’s verdict, the court stated. When a jury renders a verdict, any issue which has not been submitted to the jury is waived. A judgment cannot be rendered on an omitted issue. Thus, the court stated, to prevail on their strict products liability claims against Allied, the plaintiffs had the burden to prove that Moran’s seat belt buckle was in a defective condition when it left Allied’s possession. The plaintiffs presented such evidence. But the jury charge only asked if a design defect existed when the buckle left the possession of DCC. None of the language in the relevant part of the charge pertained to Allied. In fact, Allied was not mentioned once in the entire jury charge. Allied’s attorneys objected to this at the charge conference, as well as post-trial, during a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion to render judgment on the verdict. The trial court did not ask the jury whether Allied sold a product in defective condition and the jury made no determination on the issue. Without such a finding, the court found that there was no basis for holding Allied strictly liable. The court then decided the merits of DCC’s appeal. The first issue raised by DCC involved challenges to both the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence to prove causation. The court held that legally and factually sufficient evidence supported the judgment. In its second issue, DCC contended that the trial court erred in failing to charge the jury with allocation of responsibility between DCC and Allied. The court held that DCC failed to show an abuse of discretion, because the allocation of responsibility question proposed by DCC was improper and not substantially correct. In its third issue, DCC presented two sub-issues challenging rulings on the admissibility of different evidence offered at trial. The court found no reversible error in the rulings. In a fourth issue, DCC contended that the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony on causation. But the court found no reversible error in the trial court’s evidentiary ruling. OPINION:Garza, J. wrote for the unanimous en banc court.

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