Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtSCHOENIG; PUGLIA, P. J., and EVANS
Citation95 Cal.App.3d 621,157 Cal.Rptr. 248
PartiesJudy WILER et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, a corporation, et al., Defendants and Respondents. Civ. 18043.
Decision Date12 July 1979

Page 248

157 Cal.Rptr. 248
95 Cal.App.3d 621
Judy WILER et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, a corporation, et al., Defendants and Respondents.
Civ. 18043.
Court of Appeal, Third District, California.
July 12, 1979.

[95 Cal.App.3d 624]

Page 249

Eugene C. Treaster, Sacramento, for plaintiff and appellant.

John J. Hannegan and David A. Riegels, Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant & Hannegan, Sacramento, for defendant and respondent.

SCHOENIG, Associate Justice. *

Plaintiffs appeal the adverse summary judgment on plaintiffs' action seeking to impose liability for wrongful death on defendant Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (Firestone), on the ground of a defective tire.

Plaintiffs Judy Wiler and Wendy June Wiler filed an action seeking to recover damages for the alleged wrongful death of Gary Wiler, their husband and father, respectively. Gary was killed while he was driving on Highway 99 between Sacramento and Stockton.

The Ford automobile belonging to Gary was found in a ditch with a deflated tire and officials theorized that the vehicle left the road at a high rate of speed. An autopsy revealed Wiler's blood alcohol concentration to be approximately .22 percent (ppm).

Subsequent to the accident, plaintiffs filed suit against numerous defendants, 1 including the owners of the bars who had served Wiler the [95 Cal.App.3d 625] night of the accident, Ford Motor Company, and Firestone, who had manufactured the tire on the vehicle.

Insofar as Firestone was concerned, liability was asserted on the ground that the tire, a Firestone 500 radial, was defective. However, discovery revealed plaintiffs' expert's opinion to be that no defects were present in the tire, except for the valve stem manufactured and attached to it by Ford Motor Company.

On this state of facts, Firestone moved for and was granted summary judgment. Following the entry of that judgment, plaintiffs appealed.

Plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in granting Firestone's motion for summary judgment. We disagree.

"The procedure for the entry of a summary judgment provides a method by which, if the pleadings are not defective, the court may determine whether the triable issues apparently raised by them are real or merely the product of adept pleading." (Coyne v. Krempels (1950) 36 Cal.2d 257, 262, 223 P.2d 244, 247.)

The trial court must grant the motion for summary judgment if "all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." (Code Civ.Proc., § 437c.)

"The purpose of the summary judgment statute (Code Civ.Proc., § 437c) is to promote and protect the administration of justice, and to expedite litigation by the elimination of needless trials. (Citations.) The court on a motion for summary judgment does not try issues, but merely determines on the basis of the affidavits of the parties whether there are factual issues to be tried. (Citations.)" (Exchequer Acceptance Corp. v. Alexander (1969) 271 Cal.App.2d 1, 11, 76 Cal.Rptr. 328, 333-334; Jack v. Wood (1968) 258 Cal.App.2d 639, 646, 65 Cal.Rptr. 856.)

Page 250

"In examining the sufficiency of (the) affidavits filed in connection with the motion, the affidavits of the moving party are strictly construed and those of his opponent liberally construed, and doubts as to the propriety of granting the motion should be resolved in favor of the party opposing the motion. Such summary procedure is drastic and should be [95 Cal.App.3d 626] used with caution so that it does not become a substitute for the open trial method of determining facts. (Citations.)" (Stationers Corp. v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (1965) 62 Cal.2d 412, 417, 42 Cal.Rptr. 449, 452, 398 P.2d 785, 788; see Pettis v. General Tel. Co. (1967) 66 Cal.2d 503, 505, 58 Cal.Rptr. 316, 426 P.2d 884.)

"The motion shall be supported or opposed by affidavits, declarations, admissions, answers to interrogatories, depositions and matters of which judicial notice shall or may be taken. . . . (P) Supporting and opposing affidavits or declarations shall be made by any person on personal knowledge, shall set forth admissible evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein." (Code Civ.Proc., § 437c.) To " 'satisfy the statutory requirement . . . the movant's affidavits must state all the requisite evidentiary facts and not merely the ultimate facts. Southern Pacific Co. v. Fish (1958) 166 Cal.App.2d 353, 362, 333 P.2d 133; Murphy v. Kelly (1955) 137 Cal.App.2d 21, 30-31, 289 P.2d 565. Moreover, neither conclusions of law nor conclusions of fact are sufficient to satisfy the statutory requirement. Gardenswartz v. Equitable etc. Soc. (1937) 23 Cal.App.2d Supp. 745, 754, 68 P.2d 322.' House v. Lala (1960) 180 Cal.App.2d 412, 416, 4 Cal.Rptr. 366" (De Echeguren v. de Echeguren (1962) 210 Cal.App.2d 141, 147, 26 Cal.Rptr. 562, 565; see, Warfield v. McGraw-Hill, Inc. (1973) 32 Cal.App.3d 1041, 1046, 108 Cal.Rptr. 652; Hatch v. Bush (1963) 215 Cal.App.2d 692, 702, 30 Cal.Rptr. 397, 403.)

"The defendant's supporting affidavits are responsive in nature and must necessarily be addressed to the issues raised by the complaint. (Joslin v. Marin Municipal Water Dist. (1967) 67 Cal.2d 132, 148-149, 60 Cal.Rptr. 377, 429 P.2d 889; Swaffield v. Universal Ecsco Corp. (1969) 271 Cal.App.2d 147, 171-172, 76 Cal.Rptr. 680; Miller & Lux, Inc. v. Bank of America (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 719, 728, 28 Cal.Rptr. 401; Craig v. Earl (1961) 194 Cal.App.2d 652, 655, 15 Cal.Rptr. 207.)"

"In determining whether triable issues are presented, the court may not consider the allegations of the complaint except to the extent they are not controverted by affidavits on either side. (Jack v. Wood (1968) 258 Cal.App.2d 639, 647, 65 Cal.Rptr. 856; Elliott...

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72 practice notes
  • Jimenez v. Superior Court, No. S091453.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 4 Diciembre 2002
    ...when they left the factory, and whether these defects caused the alleged injuries. (See Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 629, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248; Rest.3d Torts, Products Liability, § 5; id., § 19, com. b, p. Insisting that they should not be held strictly liable......
  • Johnson v. U.S. Steel Corp., A142485
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 1 Septiembre 2015
    ...of larger products into which the component is integrated is conceptually not difficult. In Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248, for example, summary judgment was granted to an automotive tire manufacturer sued for manufacturing and design defect......
  • Rickel v. Schwinn Bicycle Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 Julio 1983
    ...be advanced for the first time on appeal. Plaintiffs seek to avoid this result by citing Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 627, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248, which " 'Thus, a plaintiff who has pleaded a cause of action on either of two theories will not be subject to defea......
  • Day v. Rosenthal
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 8 Agosto 1985
    ...Growth Fund, Inc. v. Superior Court (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 628, 638, 164 Cal.Rptr. 621; Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 628, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248.) There has been no abuse of discretion in this Rosenthal asserts, "under the traditional view, the court's denial of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
72 cases
  • Jimenez v. Superior Court, No. S091453.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 4 Diciembre 2002
    ...when they left the factory, and whether these defects caused the alleged injuries. (See Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 629, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248; Rest.3d Torts, Products Liability, § 5; id., § 19, com. b, p. Insisting that they should not be held strictly liable......
  • Johnson v. U.S. Steel Corp., A142485
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 1 Septiembre 2015
    ...of larger products into which the component is integrated is conceptually not difficult. In Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248, for example, summary judgment was granted to an automotive tire manufacturer sued for manufacturing and design defect......
  • Rickel v. Schwinn Bicycle Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 Julio 1983
    ...be advanced for the first time on appeal. Plaintiffs seek to avoid this result by citing Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 627, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248, which " 'Thus, a plaintiff who has pleaded a cause of action on either of two theories will not be subject to defea......
  • Day v. Rosenthal
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 8 Agosto 1985
    ...Growth Fund, Inc. v. Superior Court (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 628, 638, 164 Cal.Rptr. 621; Wiler v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 621, 628, 157 Cal.Rptr. 248.) There has been no abuse of discretion in this Rosenthal asserts, "under the traditional view, the court's denial of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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