Appeal From Order Entered May 13, 1988, In Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Philadelphia County, No. 8197, March Term, 1982. Appeal From Judgment Entered September 21, 1988, In Court of Common PLeas, Civil Division, Philadelphia County, No. 3802, December Term, 1982.
Kevin Connors, Philadelphia, for appellants in Nos. 1816 and 2041.
Judy Greenwood, Philadelphia, for Haverstock, appellees in Nos. 1816 and 2041.
Joseph Glantz, Levittown, for Goglia, appellee in Nos. 1816 and 2041.
Cavanaugh, McEwen and Popovich, JJ.
[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 107]
The primary issue in this case is whether the court below erred in charging the jury under Restatement of Torts (Second) § 400 which provides:
[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 108]
§ 400. Selling as Own Product Chattel Made by Another
One who puts out as his own product a chattel manufactured by another is subject to the same liability as though he were the manufacturer.
Comment a. to this Section states:
a. The words "one who puts out a chattel" include anyone who supplies it to others for their own use or for the use of third persons, either by sale or lease or by gift or loan.
The issue must be considered in light of the facts established by the evidence. In December, 1978 Charles Haverstock went to the Oxford Valley Bicycle Company, an authorized dealer for Raleigh bicycles, to purchase a bicycle for his son, Robert, as a Christmas present. Mr. Haverstock wanted to purchase a Raleigh bicycle because he knew of the company's reputation as a manufacturer of excellent bicycles and because it came with an extended warranty. When he was at the bicycle shop, Mr. Haverstock saw a Raleigh floor model that had a lifetime guarantee on the fork and frame. He wanted a black bicycle but there was not one on the floor. He also selected a different seat and handlebar from the floor model. Mr. Haverstock left a deposit and returned on Christmas Eve to pick up the bicycle which was assembled and ready for delivery.
The bicycle was given to Robert, who was then about fourteen years of age, on Christmas Day, 1978. He used the bicycle to get around the neighborhood and to go to the store on occasion. Robert decided that he would like the fenders removed and the bicycle was returned to Oxford Valley Bicycle Company in March, 1980 to have this accomplished. Robert also changed a flat tire on the bike. Beyond this, there were no changes or modifications made on the bike after Mr. Haverstock took delivery.
Robert used the bicycle without incident until February 19, 1981 when he was riding near his home. The bicycle suddenly collapsed causing him to fall and as a result of the accident, he suffered severe injuries.
[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 109]
Robert's parents, who are Charles and Beverly Haverstock, brought two actions as natural guardians of their son and in their own right. One action was against Raleigh Bicycle Company and Oxford Valley Bicycle Company, Inc. and was brought at March Term, 1982 at No. 8197, and alleged that the "bicycle involved in the accident was manufactured by defendant, Raleigh Bicycle Company and was sold, assembled and adjusted by defendant, Oxford Valley Bicycle Company, Inc." It was further charged that "defendant, Raleigh Bicycle Company, negligently and carelessly designed, manufactured and distributed the bicycle involved in the accident," and that Oxford Valley Bicycle Company negligently and carelessly assembled, adjusted and sold the bicycle. The second complaint was against T.I. Raleigh, Ltd. and The Huffy Corporation and filed at No. 3802, December Term, 1982, alleging that the defendants in that action were the successor corporations to those named in the earlier complaint. It alleged that the bicycle was "manufactured, designed and distributed" by defendants T.I. Raleigh, Ltd. and Raleigh Bicycle Company. Nowhere in the complaints is it alleged that the Raleigh Bicycle companies were vicariously liable for the acts of another.
The plaintiffs proceeded at trial on the basis of strict liability under Restatement (Second) of ...