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REX A. FRAVEL v. SUZUKI MOTOR CO. (12/21/84)

filed: December 21, 1984.

REX A. FRAVEL, HAROLD L. FRAVEL & SHIRLEY J. FRAVEL
v.
SUZUKI MOTOR CO., LTD. AND U.S. SUZUKI MOTOR CORP. AND THOMAS KROUSE, INDIVIDUALLY AND TRADING AS KROUSE SPORT CITY AND EVELYN J. LEHMAN



No. 74 Harrisburg 1984, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Lycoming County at No. 83-00005.

COUNSEL

Stephen M. Feldman, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Scott Millhouse, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Wickersham, Johnson and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 98]

In this case, plaintiffs/appellants Rex, Harold, and Shirley Fravel appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County sustaining the preliminary objections filed by Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. and U.S. Suzuki Motor Corporation (hereinafter referred to collectively as "Suzuki") and dismissing plaintiffs' complaint as against those two defendants. We reverse.

The complaint alleges that Rex Fravel suffered permanent quadriplegia when the 1980 Suzuki motorcycle he was operating collided with an automobile operated by additional

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 99]

    defendant Evelyn J. Lehman. The nineteen year old Fravel had been traveling west on Allegheny Street in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania when he was struck by Ms. Lehman's car, which had been proceeding in an easterly direction on the same street. Appellants allege that Ms. Lehman made a left turn onto a cross street, in front of Fravel's on-coming motorcycle.

Plaintiffs'/appellants' complaint sets forth two theories of liability against the two Suzuki companies, which manufactured and distributed the motorcycle that Fravel was riding on the day of the collision. Appellants' first theory is based on strict liability for the sale of a defective product under Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A. Appellants allege that the motorcycle was sold in a dangerous and defective condition in that it was not sufficiently visible to the operators of vehicles coming in the opposite direction, it lacked the safety devices necessary to increase its conspicuousness, and it was not accompanied by adequate warnings or directions. Appellants' second theory of liability is based on the negligence of Suzuki. Specifically, appellants allege that despite the fact that Suzuki knew or should have known that the motorcycle was unreasonably dangerous in that it was not sufficiently visible to operators of vehicles coming in the opposite direction, Suzuki failed to use due care to add such safety devices as would reasonably increase its conspicuousness and failed to use due care to warn the users of the facts that made it dangerous or of the steps that could be taken to lessen or avoid the danger.

Suzuki filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer on the ground that appellants' complaint failed to state a cause of action upon which relief could be granted. On January 6, 1984, the Honorable Robert J. Wollet sustained Suzuki's preliminary objections and dismissed appellants' complaint as to the two Suzuki companies.*fn1 The

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 100]

    lower court also refused appellants' request for leave to amend their complaint. ...


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