BUS FPX 3021 Assessment 2 Case Law Analysis and Executive Briefing
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BUS FPX 3021 Assessment 2 Case Law Analysis and Executive Briefing

BUS FPX 3021 Assessment 2 Case Law Analysis and Executive Briefing

Name

Capella university

BUS-FPX3021 Fundamentals of Business Law

Prof. Name

Date

Parties:

Donald C. MacPherson and Buick Motor Company

Court and Date Decided:

New York Court of Appeals (Decided March 14, 1916)

Background Facts:

MacPherson filed a lawsuit against Buick Motor Co. for injuries sustained due to a collapsed wheel of a 1909 Buick Runabout he purchased from a dealer who acquired the vehicle from Buick Motor Co. The court found that while the wheel was not manufactured by Buick Motor Co., a reasonable inspection by the company would have revealed its defects. Buick Motor Co. argued that the dealer was liable, but the court held that as a manufacturer, Buick Motor Co. had a stricter duty to ensure the safety of its final product.

Specific Disagreement and Ruling of the Court:

The majority decision, led by Judge Cardozo, determined whether Buick Motor Co. owed a duty of care beyond the immediate purchaser. Drawing on precedent, the court distinguished between inherently dangerous items and those rendered imminently dangerous due to negligent manufacturing. It held that Buick Motor Co. was aware that improperly produced vehicles posed a significant threat and thus had a duty to conduct tests to ensure safety. The dissenting opinion, represented by Chief Judge Bartlett, argued that the manufacturer of the faulty wheel should be held liable, absolving Buick Motor Co. of responsibility.

Conclusion – Importance to Business Law and Ethical Implications:

This ruling, although from 1916, remains relevant in understanding corporate liability. It establishes that companies are liable for products sold to consumers, regardless of component sourcing. This underscores the importance of stringent quality control measures. Zipursky and Goldberg (2016) stress the ethical obligation of companies to prioritize consumer safety. Upholding the defendant’s argument would have set a precedent relieving manufacturers of liability once products are sold to intermediaries, a notion contrary to ethical business practices. The dissenting opinion, if enforceable today, could lead to egregious consequences, allowing corporations to evade liability through corporate structuring. However, ethical conduct not only aligns with societal values but also enhances long-term profitability.

References:

MacPherson v Buick Motor Co. 217 N.Y. 382, 111 N.E. 1050 (1916)
Zipursky, B. C., & Goldberg, J. C. P. (2016). The Myths of Macpherson. FLASH: The Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History. https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/faculty_scholarship/896/