Torts I, Page 262–263

Cruz v. DaimlerChrysler Motors Corp.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island, 2013


Minivan owner was cleaning inside when both airbags suddenly deployed and injured him. They then sued the dealer on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

Procedural History:

Trial judge granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on all counts.


Is a car salesman liable for defects not discovered until years later under res ipsa loquitur?

Defendant's Argument:

Defendant did not know nor should have known of the defect.


Defendant cannot be expected to know of a fault that did not manifest, or possibly even exist, until three years after he sold it.


No, res ipsa loquitur cannot hold someone liable for a defect he did not cause and was not expected to know of.