Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Page 1


Court of Appeal:

Liability for Injuries Can’t Be Based on Educated Guess as to Maker, Seller


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Third District Court of Appeal held yesterday that a plaintiff failed to establish that the defendants manufactured, distributed or sold the chair in which she was sitting when it collapsed, causing her to incur injuries, because her employer discarded that chair, and the fact that another one in the same office looked the same—and was linked to the defendants—did not suffice.

Acting Presiding Justice Harry E. Hull Jr. wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication. It affirms summary judgment for defendants King Hong Industrial Co., Ltd., which makes chair parts, and Office Master, Inc., which assembles and sells chairs.

Plaintiff Krysta Morrison argued that even though the chair in which she sat was not available for an examination, it was a mate to a chair in the office that collapsed under one of her co-workers two weeks after her own accident, breaking in a similar manner. That chair was retained and had an Office Master label on it.

Hull wrote:

“Though the evidence suggests Morrison’s chair and the exemplar chair appear the same to an everyday observer, defendants supplied ample evidence to demonstrate that two office chairs that look the same might not, in fact, be made by or consist of parts made by the same manufacturer. Absent information the labeling and manufacturer markings on both chairs, that two chairs look the same is not enough to establish they were put into the stream of commerce by the same manufacturer or distributer. Based on the evidence provided, it is entirely plausible that Morrison’s chair and the retained chair were made in whole or in part using components supplied by different component and end-product manufacturers.”

The case is Morrison v. Office Master, Inc., C086491.


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