Brewer v. PACCAR, Inc.Annotate this Case
In this Indiana Product Liability Act (IPLA) design-defect case, the Supreme Court held that the the trial court erred in determining that a component-part manufacturer owed no duty, as a matter of law, to install safety features that the injury party alleged were necessary.
PACCAR, Inc. was the manufacturer of a glider kit, a component part that becomes an operable semi-truck after a purchaser installs an engine, exhaust system, and transmission. The glider kit has a blind spot behind it, and PACCAR did not include certain safety features to mitigate the danger created by the blind spot unless a customer specifically requested them. A driver backed up a semi with an integrated PACCAR glider kit and stuck and killed a construction foreman. His widow brought a design-defect claim against PACCAR, claiming that the lack of the safety features rendered the glider kit defective. The trial court granted PACCAR's motion for summary judgment, concluding that PACCAR owed no duty to install the safety features because the duly fell solely on the final manufacturer of the completed semi. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding that whether PACCAR owed the decedent a duty to includes the features was a question for the trier of fact.