Ford Motor Company v. Darryl

Decision Date29 July 1968
Docket NumberNo. 7800,7800
Citation432 S.W.2d 569
PartiesFORD MOTOR COMPANY, Appellant, v. Harrold DARRYL et ux., and John D. Voyles, Appellees. . Amarillo
CourtTexas Court of Appeals

Gibson, Ochsner, Harlan, Kinney & Morris and Max Sherman, Amarillo, for appellant.

Jack Hazlewood, Culton, Morgan, Britain & White, James C. Sanders, Amarillo, for appellees.

DENTON, Chief Justice.

This suit for damages was instituted by Harrold Darryl and wife, Anita Darryl, against John D. Voyles alleging several counts of negligence and against Ford Motor Company for negligence in equipping Voyles's truck with defective brakes, and breach of implied warranty of fitness. The case was submitted to a jury upon special issues. The trial court entered a judgment upon the verdict in favor of the plaintiffs below against Ford, but denied plaintiffs recovery against Voyles, and denied Ford recovery on its cross action against Voyles for contribution or indemnity. Ford gave notice of appeal, however, its supersedeas and appeal bonds were only in favor of the Darryls. Darryl's notice of appeal as to Voyles was not perfected.

Darryl and his wife, plaintiffs below, sustained personal injuries while driving their automobile in a northerly direction along Western Avenue where it intersects with Mesa Circle in the City of Amarillo, when struck from the rear by a 1965 Ford truck owned and being driven by John D. Voyles, one of the defendants below. Voyles had purchased the truck new from an authorized Ford dealer in Amarillo approximately three months prior to the accident. The truck, manufactured and sold by Ford Motor Company, had been driven between 600 and 700 miles. As Darryl approached the intersection of Western and Mesa Circle he noticed water standing in the area. He reduced his speed by taking his foot off the accelerator. Just as he reached the intersection his car was struck from the rear by Voyles's truck. It was 'drizzling' rain and the roadway was wet at the time of the collision. Voyles testified he was following the Darryl car on Western Avenue after he entered on that street from 45th Street. He stopped at that intersection and his brakes were working satisfactorily. When Voyles was approaching Darryl he noticed Darryl 'was either starting to stop or he was hesitating to make a left hand turn'. When Voyles was from 140--150 feet behind the Darryl automobile had applied his brakes. The brakes failed and he 'just rolled free right into the rear of a car.' He testified his brakes had worked perfectly up to that time and no repairs or adjustment had been made on them. It is undisputed the push rod, a part of the truck's braking system, which connects the brake pedal to the master cylinder was bent after the collision. The party stipulated the braking system as inoperative after the collision by reason of the bent push rod.

The jury found in favor of Voyles on all issues concerning his alleged acts of negligence and that the collision was not the result of an unavoidable accident. The jury further found: (6a) that the push rod bent under pressure placed on the brake pedal by Voyles in an effort to stop the vehicle; (6b) that the bending of the push rod was a proximate cause of the collision; (6c) that the push rod bent because it was defective; (6d) that the defective condition of the push rod was a proximate cause of the collision; (6e) that the defective condition of the push rod was the result of negligence on the part of Ford during the manufacture or assemply process and (6f) that such negligence was a proximate cause of the collision and (7) that the bending of the push rod did not occur at the time of the impact of the vehicle in question; (8a) and that Voyles's brakes failed suddenly and unexpectedly when he stepped on the brake pedal immediately before the collission; and (8d) that such failure was the sole proximate cause of the collision. In connection with special issue (6c) the court gave the following instruction:

'You are instructed that in this question the word 'defective' is used in the sense that the push rod was defective if when sold by the defendant, Ford Motor Company, it was not of sufficient strength to withstand, without bending, applications of pressure in the operation of the braking mechanism of the frequency and force to be reasonably foreseeable.'

The judgment against Ford can be properly based only on the doctrine of strict liability as established by the jury's findings in special issues 6a through 6d. There is no evidence in this record to support the findings of the pleaded general act of negligence during the manufacture or assembly process on the part of Ford. Texas is now among the several states which has adopted the rule of strict liability in tort as it applies to products which cause physicial harm to persons. McKisson v. Sales Affiliates, Inc. (Tex.Sup.) 416 S.W.2d 787. The question here is whether there is any evidence or sufficient evidence to establish Ford's liability under the strict liability doctrine.

Voyles testified he purchased the truck new from Sid Stout Ford, Ford's authorized dealer in Amarillo, Some three months prior to the collision in question. It had been driven approximately 600 to 700 miles, and was being used to haul silage for a feed lot. He had driven the truck some 250 or 300 miles on the day of the collision, and had been hauling...

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4 cases
  • Hawkeye-Security Ins. Co. v. Ford Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • 10 Febrero 1970
    ...Motor Company, supra, has been offered. It is for the trier of the facts to assess the weight of such evidence. Ford Motor Company v. Darryl, Tex. Civ.App., 432 S.W.2d 569, involved brake failure due to a bent push rod on a new truck that had only been driven 600 to 700 miles. There was cla......
  • Hawkeye Sec. Ins. Co. v. Ford Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • 29 Junio 1972
    ...the submission of the negligence issue would open up an area for conjecture and speculation by the jury. Ford Motor Co. v. Darryl (Ct. of Civ.App., Texas 1968), 432 S.W.2d 569, 571, aff'd. in part and rev'd. in part (Tex.Sup.Ct.1969), 440 S.W.2d The trial court has the duty to instruct with......
  • Darryl v. Ford Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • 23 Abril 1969
    ...of the trial court in favor of Voyles and reversed the judgment against Ford and rendered judgment that the petitioners take nothing. 432 S.W.2d 569. Petitioners in Court have abandoned their negligence theory and rely on strict liability in Writ of error was granted on petitioners' first p......
  • Leonard & Harral Packing Co. v. Hahn
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 31 Julio 1978
    ...630 (Tex.1969), is not in point. In Darryl, the jury found that the braking system of the car was defective. The Court of Civil Appeals, 432 S.W.2d 569, held there was no evidence of defect and reversed and rendered. The Supreme Court said, at page Writ of error was granted on petitioners' ......

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