Nanda v. Ford Motor Co., 509 F.2d 213 (7th Cir. 1974)
Nanda v. Ford Motor Co. involved an action against the Ford Motor Company for injuries sustained in a second collision2 with the proximate cause being a defect in design. The facts were as follows: At about 3:30 P.M. on October 29, 1967, plaintiff Chitta R. Nanda, driving alone in his 1967 Ford Cortina, stopped in the inner northbound lane of Route 45 in Urbana, Illinois, to wait for an opening in southbound traffic so that he could turn left into an access road. While his vehicle was stopped, the Cortina was struck in the rear by a 1962 Oldsmobile traveling at a speed as low as ten miles per hour. This collision injured no one and caused only relatively minor damage to the front of the Oldsmobile. The Cortina, however, was spun around and pushed into the southbound lanes, where it was struck in the rear by a southbound Rambler. The Rambler was traveling at about forty miles per hour when the driver saw the Cortina and applied the brakes, which grabbed before the collision with the Cortina.
There was evidence that the collision with the Oldsmobile caused a small fire which was the size and shape of a grapefruit with a stream coming up from it on the rear of the Cortina and which, when the Rambler struck the Cortina, grew into a huge ball, enveloping the Cortina and the front of the Rambler. Almost instantaneously after the second collision the inside of the Cortina was engulfed in flames. Plaintiff suffered permanently disfiguring and disabling burns. The plaintiff was faced with the alternative of pursuing an action in strict liability, warranty, or common law negligence. The plaintiff elected strict liability, and a federal district court verdict in his favor was appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed the district court’s decision.
Sposaro, Anthony J.
"Defective Design: Second Collision Injuries and the Burden of Producing Evidence,"
University of Dayton Law Review: Vol. 1:
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