No strict product liability claim exists where the product was used successfully and without incident after the accident. Peaco v. GF Management of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 02-7701, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Nov. 13, 2003.
On Oct. 7, 2000, Glenn Peaco was a passenger in a 2000 Dodge Ram Wagon B3500 van manufactured by DaimlerChrysler. George Glew was an employee of the Brunswick Hotel and was operating the van at the time of the accident, which occurred in the hotel garage. Glew claimed that the van suddenly accelerated when he placed it into gear and that it consequently traveled 50 feet into the wall of the hotel garage. No one was able to substantiate Glew’s description of the events, and no one experienced a similar mechanical malfunction in the van. The other employees who had driven the van testified that they had not experienced any mechanical difficulty as the one Glew experienced at the time of the accident. The van was repaired in May 2001 and continued to be driven without incident. Peaco sued DaimlerChrysler; Daim- lerChrysler moved for summary judgment, and the district court granted the motion. It held that based upon the facts presented, Peaco did not have a strict product liability claim. Furthermore, Peaco could not maintain a claim under the less stringent product malfunction theory. It held that although a jury could have found for Peaco based upon the testimony of Glew, Peaco failed to provide sufficient evidence that a defect existed in the van when the van left the manufacturer. It considered that after the accident, the van was repaired and continued to be used by the hotel and that under prior Pennsylvania case law, a plaintiff cannot survive summary judgment if the product was used successfully and without incident after the accident.
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