In products liability cases where the failure of the product is “so manifest” that “common experience” would show it could not occur in the absence of some defect, juries must be given a res ipsa loquitur instruction that allows them to infer the existence of a defect even in the absence of a reasonable alternative design, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

In Knoster v. Ford Motor Co., the court voted 2-1 to order a new trial in a suit over a fatal accident in which the plaintiffs claimed that a Ford Taurus suddenly accelerated due to a malfunction in the cruise control system.

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