Sec. 52. Right Of Remote Purchaser To Sue In Tort

A remote purchaser of an article may sue the manufacturer or producer thereof for injuries sustained by him in cases in which such manufacturer or producer is guilty of fraud or has knowledge of the defect; in cases in which the article manufactured is inherently dangerous to life or limb and the manufacturer or producer is guilty of negligence in preparing the same; in cases in which the article manufactured is intended for human consumption and there is like negligence; but by the weight of authority the producer is not liable to a remote consumer with whom he has no contract in any other case than those above given even if he be guilty of negligence in the preparation or manufacture.

The situation we now consider is as follows: A, a manufacturer, sells to B, a dealer, who sells to C, a consumer. We have already considered C's rights against B (a mere dealer) in warranty; we have also seen that warranties do not extend to subpurchasers and therefore C cannot sue A in contract. The question now is may he sue him in tort ? This question is of rather late development, but considerable litigation has lately arisen upon it. The law is not altogether settled, but we may attempt a summary as follows:

(a) Article manufactured not inherently dangerous, not meant for food, drink or medicine, manufacturer or producer guilty of mere negligence - manufacturer or producer not liable to remote purchaser in tort.

Example 16. S, a manufacturer of carriages, sold a carriage to R, a dealer, who resold to B. B while driving the carriage was injured by the breaking of a defective wheel. It was not shown that S had any knowledge of the defect. Held, manufacturer not liable unless such guilty knowledge were shown, a carriage not being a dangerous article.44

(b) Article manufactured not inherently dangerous, not meant for food, drink or medicine, manufacturer guilty of deceit - manufacturer liable to remote purchaser in tort.

44. Burkett v. Studebaker Bros. Mfg. Co., 126 Tenn. 467. See also a leading case in Caffrey v. Mossberg Mfg. Co., 23 R. I. 381, 55 L. R. A. 822.

Example 17. M manufactured a buggy which .he sold to a city and it was used by W, a waterworks superintendent, who was injured by reason of a defect which the manufacturer had concealed by the use of paint and grease. Manufacturer held liable to W.45

45. Woodward v. Miller, 119 Ga. 618, 64 L. R. A. 932.

(c) Article inherently dangerous - manufacturer liable to any one hurt in the use thereof unless he uses care in its preparation. What is reasonable care depends on the facts. Thus the preparer of drugs, poisons, explosives, etc., must take every precaution to safeguard the user.

Example 18. A manufactured fur coats containing a dye injurious to some persons, although not to all. Held liable for not giving notice of the hidden danger.46

46. Gerkin v. Brown, 143 N. W. (Mich.) 48.

In the case of Johnson v. Cadillac Motor Car Company, 261 Fed. 878, Johnson bought a car from a dealer who bought it from the defendant, and while driving it was injured by the breakage of a defective wheel. Johnson sued in tort for damages and the court held that he could recover upon showing merely negligence on the part of the Cadillac Company, on the ground that an automobile is inherently dangerous if not carefully manufactured, and should be in the same class as drugs or food.

(d) Articles intended for food, drink, medicine, etc. Manufacturer liable to any consumer, unless he uses utmost precaution in preparation.

The above doctrine is qualified by many cases by the statement that the goods must be contained in original packages.

Example 19. M purchased a carton of cold tongue from Seattle Grocery Co. who had purchased it from the producers, A & Co. Alleged that it was unwholesome owing to negligence of producers. A & Co. demurred to the case. Held, that a manufacturer of food who sells it in original packages and is negligent in preparing it is liable to any one who is damaged by its intended use.47

47. Mazetti v. Armour & Co., 135 Pac. (Wash.) 633. 48 L. R. A. N. S. 213.