such inspection would have disclosed; because of Ford's failure to properly secure the jam nut and because of White's failure to correct that defect, the accident happened and Duckworth was injured.
Under the foregoing view of the facts (for which there is ample support in the evidence) there is negligence on the part of White but not such as will support a judgment of contribution in Ford's favor. A dealer's negligent omissions may give rise to a cause of action against it by the purchaser, but as between dealer and manufacturer, the responsibility for loss from negligent manufacture is that of the manufacturer and the latter is not entitled to contribution from the former for failure to discover and correct such defect. Birdsong v. General Motors Corporation, 99 F.Supp. 163 (D.C.E.D.Pa.1951); Jarnot v. Ford Motor Company, supra; Restatement, Restitution, § 95; and see discussion in Builders' Supply Co. v. McCabe, 366 Pa. 322, 77 A.2d 368, 24 A.L.R.2d 319 (1951). 'In the manufacturer-retailer cases, indemnity is a one way street. The manufacturer cannot recover from the dealer for negligence in failing to discover and remedy the defect before selling the item, since the duty to see that it is properly made is on the manufacturer.' Davis, Indemnity Between Negligent Tortfeasors, 37 Iowa L.Rev. 517, 527 (1951-2). See also the comments of Chief Justice Holmes in Boston Woven-Hose and Rubber Co. v. Kendall, 178 Mass. 232, 59 N.E. 657, 51 L.R.A. 781 (1901) and Harper and James, Law of Torts, Section 10.2 at pages 724-5 (1956). The fact that in the instant case the steering assembly was made by someone other than Ford does not relieve Ford of its ultimate responsibility as manufacturer of the finished product. MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co., supra.
Ford argues that there is a view of the evidence and of the jury's answers to special interrogatories which will support the verdict and judgment against White, to wit: the jam nut was properly secured when the vehicle left Ford; White loosened the jam nut either in the course of making the vehicle ready for delivery to Duckworth or while attempting to make an adjustment to the steering mechanism during the course of the 1,000 mile inspection.
This view of the case must be rejected. First, it would render the jury's answers to special interrogatories inconsistent. The version advanced by Ford requires a finding that the jam nut was properly secured when the vehicle left Ford's plant. By their answers to interrogatories 1 and 2 the jury placed the responsibility for the loose jam nut on Ford. Acceptance of Ford's version would have served as a complete defense to Ford, not as a basis for contribution against White. Birdsong v. General Motors Corporation, supra. Since there is a view of the facts under which the jury's answers are consistent, Ford's view, which renders them inconsistent, must be rejected. Atlantic & Gulf Stevedores, Inc. v. Ellerman Lines, Ltd., et al., supra.
A second reason for the rejection of Ford's version is that it is not supported by the evidence. In its case against White, ford offered Duckworth's case against it. By offering Duckworth's testimony Ford proved that the difficulty with the steering commenced a few days after delivery of the car, that the defect, therefore, existed long before the occasion of the 1,000 mile inspection. Further, Ford itself introduced (albeit in its defense against Duckworth's claim) uncontradicted evidence through White's mechanic and records that White did nothing to the steering during the 1,000 mile inspection. Ford clearly failed in its burden, therefore, to prove that White did anything at the 1,000 mile inspection to create the condition which caused the accident.
The only remaining possibility for implicating White is what White might have done in the course of making the Duckworth vehicle ready for delivery to him. There it was Ford's burden to prove that when the vehicle arrived at White's place of business the jam nut was secure. To establish that it points to Pruyn's testimony (that if a jam nut has been properly secured, it cannot work itself loose, it requires the application of outside force to loosen it) and Duckworth's testimony (that for three days after delivery the steering operated properly) as supporting the inference that the jam nut was secure when the car arrived at White's place of business. One fallacy in that reasoning is that Ford seeks to use Pruyn's opinion to establish the very fact which Pruyn assumed as the basis for his opinion, i.e. a properly secured jam nut. Another fallacy is that the three days of proper operation of the steering, on which Ford relies to exculpate itself from blame for the loose nut serves equally to exculpate White from blame for loosening the nut on receipt of the car from Ford. In other words, if Ford's position is correct that the three days of proper operation proves that the jam nut was properly secured when it left the Ford plant, those same three days of proper operation would also prove that the jam nut was properly secured when the vehicle left White's place of business and was delivered to Duckworth. Actually it proves neither.
The cited portions of the testimony relied on by Ford, therefore, furnish no worthwhile support for the inference which it asks the Court to draw and without which there is no evidence of active intervention by White.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court erred in entering verdict and judgment for contribution against White in the third party proceeding and such verdict and judgment will be set aside.
AND NOW, this 28th day of September, 1962, it is ORDERED that
1. Motion of Defendant, Ford Motor Company, for New Trial, be and it is hereby denied;
2. Motion of Defendant, Ford Motor Company, to Set Aside Verdict and Judgment in favor of plaintiff, be and it is hereby denied;
3. Motion of Third Party Defendant, John B. White, Inc., to Set Aside Verdict and Judgment in favor of Ford Motor Company, third party plaintiff, be and it is hereby granted, and the verdict and judgment thereon in said third party proceeding is vacated.