Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc. (1960): Promoting Product Safety by Protecting Consumers of Defective Goods
Paul L. Tractenberg ed., Courting Justice: 10 New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation (Rutgers University Press, 2013)
26 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014
Date Written: November 5, 2013
Safety recalls, child-safe toys, and other consumer safety protections are taken for granted today, but there was a time not so long ago when everyday products were dangerous and consumers who were injured by cars, toys, or other products faced a difficult road to recover compensation from manufacturers. About fifty years ago all of this changed, drastically and in a short period of time. The catalyst for this dramatic change was an unlikely source — a woman from Keansburg, New Jersey, who was injured when her new Plymouth sedan suddenly veered into a brick wall. When she initially sued the dealer who had sold her the car and Chrysler, the manufacturer, the state of the law posed roadblocks to her recovery. The New Jersey Supreme Court recognized that change was needed and issued an opinion — Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc. — that quickly would change the world of products liability and consumer protection.
This article, a chapter from Paul L. Tractenberg ed.," Courting Justice: 10 New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation" (Rutgers University Press, 2013), tells the story of the facts that gave rise to Henningsen, the arguments in the courts, and the case’s role in the development of products.
Keywords: Henningsen, products liability, tort law, New Jersey
JEL Classification: K13, K41, N42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation