Washington Law Review




The ignition system of T's pickup truck had a safety switch to prevent the engine from being started when the automatic transmission was in gear. When T accidentally broke the safety switch, the ignition system became inoperable. To remedy that situation, T joined the wires of the ignition system so as to bypass the broken safety switch. He knew this modification made it possible to start the truck even when the transmission was in gear. Later the motor broke down, and T had the truck towed to defendant's dealership, where he sold it "as is" to defendant. T did not tell defendant about his modification of the ignition system. Defendant did not inspect the truck. Two weeks later defendant's mechanic, while repairing the truck, started the engine; the truck suddenly moved foward and struck plaintiff. In plaintiff's action for personal injuries, defendant impleaded T as third party defendant. The trial court granted T's motion for summary judgment and dismissed him from the suit. On appeal, the Washington Supreme Court reversed and remanded. Held: An individual selling his chattel to another is subject to a duty to warn the vendee of a condition, known to the vendor, which makes the chattel dangerous for its intended use, even though the sale is made "as is." Fleming v. Stoddard Wendle Motor Co., 70 Wash. Dec. 2d 443, 423 P.2d 926 (1967).

First Page