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MARGARET C. VARNER AND ROY S. VARNER v. PRETTY PRODUCTS (09/26/79)

filed: September 26, 1979.

MARGARET C. VARNER AND ROY S. VARNER, APPELLANTS,
v.
PRETTY PRODUCTS, INC., A CORPORATION, APPELLEE



No. 1455 April Term, 1978 Appeal from the Judgment Entered on October 31, 1978 and Order Entered October 24, 1978, in the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. G.D. 75-28385.

COUNSEL

Clyde T. MacVay, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Thomas J. Reinstadtler, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Price, Hester and Montgomery, JJ. Montgomery, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Hester

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 87]

This is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County denying appellants' motion for a new trial.

Appellants (husband and wife) initiated an action in trespass to recover damages for injuries the wife sustained while in the employ of Mason's Department Store in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Appellee is a manufacturer of automobile floor mats. In connection with their retail sale, appellee furnished unassembled racks for their display. Employees of the retailer would then assemble and load the racks. Appellant was in the process of loading a rack when it tipped over, knocking her to the floor thus causing her various injuries.

The case was tried on a strict liability theory against the manufacturer; the issue of negligence was not involved. The jury returned a defense verdict. Appellants' post verdict motions were denied, thus this appeal.

Appellants complain that the trial judge improperly charged the jury to the effect that they could return a verdict for appellants if they found that the rack was delivered in a defective condition or was unreasonably dangerous to the user. Appellants' theory is based on his reading of the Supreme Court decisions in Azzarello v. Black Brothers Company, Inc., 480 Pa. 547, 391 A.2d 1020 (1978) and Berkebile v. Brantley Helicopter Corp., 462 Pa. 83, 337 A.2d 893 (1975).

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 88]

Our analysis of this case leads us to conclude that the application of the holdings in the above cases to the case sub judice, is inappropriate. Thus we affirm.

Berkebile and Azzarello both concerned situations where the trial court had defined "defective condition" by using the term "unreasonably dangerous". The holdings in both cases enumerated the principle that a plaintiff in a products liability case does not have the burden of proving that the instrumentality causing the harm was "unreasonably dangerous". It is ...


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