Duomo Pty Ltd manufactures engineering equipment and is a leading industry supplier in Australia and New Zealand. The ‘Duomo Drill Press’ (Duomo) is a very popular product that has been sold and supplied throughout the region for a number of years. The Duomo is powered by an electric motor. Its popularity is based on its compact design which makes it suitable for restricted spaces. Although mainly sold to the engineering industry, the Duomo is also popular with private purchasers for use in home workshops.
Vincent has been an employed by Duomo Pty Ltd as a production line quality controller for a number of years. Part of his duty includes component inspections prior to their use in finished machinery. One day a trolley with a number of 450 W electric motors was delivered to Vincent to inspect and authorize for production use. Vincent had a very causal glance at one of the motors and signed the authorization but couldn’t be bothered inspecting the remainder. Had Vincent been more careful in his inspection he would have easily realized that some of the motors were faulty because an important cut-off switch was wired incorrectly and would potentially be hazardous if connected to power and operated. The electric motors were then installed in a number of Duomo’s as they came down the production line.
Sometime later, inner city resident Jules purchased a Duomo for use in his compact workshop area. Although he read the installation instructions that clearly stated ‘machine should be installed and grounded as per local & national electrical codes to prevent electric shock’ Jules was lazy and simply connected the machine as best he could without engaging an electrician to undertake the installation. Sometime later Jules suffered an electric shock when he attempted to use the Duomo for the first time resulting in serious injury in addition to medical and ongoing rehabilitation expenses. Jules will be unable to return to work until fully recovered. Later it was discovered that Jules’s Duomo was fitted with an incorrectly wired cut-off switch although the installation in Jules’s workshop was also a factor in the accident.
Question 1: Using the 4 step process discuss whether Duomo Pty Ltd will be liable to Jules in the Tort of Negligence.
Question 2: Using the 4 step process discuss whether there are any defenses available to Duomo Pty Ltd ? Assume for this question that they have been found liable to Jules in the Tort of Negligence?
The question belongs to Engineering Law and it is about a consignment of faulty motors being fitted into drill presses without prior inspection. One of the customers who bought the drill press and followed all the instructions in the manual, suffered electric shock. Now, the customer wants to sue the company for gross negligence. The procedure for filing a damages suit has been discussed in the solution.
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