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Blank and Blank v. Garff Enterprises Inc., et al.

Blank and Blank v. Garff Enterprises Inc., et al., 2021 UT App 6 (Hagen, J.)

Civil; Torts

Plaintiffs (Husband and Wife) brought a products liability claim against the retailer and distributor of their vehicle, contending that defects in the vehicle caused them to suffer more severe injuries than they otherwise would have when a drunk driver crashed into their car. The district court granted summary judgment against the plaintiffs on the claims related to Wife’s injuries and entered a directed verdict on Husband’s claim of negligence, and the jury concluded that the vehicle did not have a defect. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The district court correctly found Wife had failed to comply with expert disclosure requirements of rule 26 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, and absent expert testimony, there was no evidence of a causal link between any claimed defect and Wife’s injuries. Thus, there was no genuine issue of material fact on those claims and summary judgment was appropriate.
  • The directed verdict was proper on Husband’s negligent design claim because Husband conceded that there was no evidence that defendants were the ones responsible for designing the vehicle or any of its components.
  • Any errors in the admission of evidence were harmless as the challenged evidence did not go to the issue of whether the vehicle contained any defect, which was the sole question that went to the jury.

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