On July 8, 1977, Danny Jones lost several fingers when his hand was caught in a Johnson punch press while attempting to free a piece of metal that had become jammed in the press. Although persons injured by allegedly defective products can normally seek compensation for their injuries from the manufacturer of the machine, and although the Johnson line of presses continues to be manufactured, Jones's claim was barred because the original manufacturer of the press had sold its business and dissolved years before the injury. The question of whether a corporate successor can be held liable for the injuries caused by a product defectively manufactured by its predecessor has, until recently, been governed exclusively by the law of corporations. As the law of strict products liability has developed, some courts have eschewed the traditional corporate law analysis of such liability in favor of an analytical framework more readily disposed toward the underlying policy justifications of strict liability. In Jones v. Johnson Machine and Press Co., however, the Nebraska Supreme Court chose not to follow this trend, and instead relied on the traditional corporate law analysis. This Note first discusses the traditional corporate law approach, its expansion, and its abandonment by some courts. It then discusses the results reached by other courts faced with the same corporate history involved in Jones. Finally, it analyzes Jones in light of those cases and suggests alternative holdings that would be preferable to the result obtained in Jones.
Liability of a Successor Corporation for Products Defectively Manufactured by a Predecessor: Jones v. Johnson Machine and Press Company, 211 Neb. 724, 320 N.W.2d 481 (1982),
62 Neb. L. Rev.
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