The MacPherson-Henningsen Puzzle

9 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2017

Date Written: August 08, 2017


In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick, an automobile company was held liable for negligence notwithstanding a lack of privity with the injured driver. Four decades later, in Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, the court held unconscionable the standard automobile company warranty which limited its responsibility to repair and replacement, even in a case involving physical injury. This suggests a puzzle: if it were so easy for firms to contract out of liability, did MacPherson accomplish anything?

Keywords: Contracts, Torts, Remedies

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Victor Paul, The MacPherson-Henningsen Puzzle (August 08, 2017). Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper No. 570, Available at SSRN: or

Victor Paul Goldberg (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

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