KNOSTER v FORD MOTOR COMPANY
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
ESTATE OF EDWARD W. KNOSTER, by IRENE KNOSTER as Administratrix Ad
Prosequendum; IRENE KNOSTER, individually; SYLVIA ANN REA;
FORD MOTOR COMPANY,
Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff,
Third Party Defendant.
On Appeal from the United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey
District Judge: Honorable Mary Little Cooper
Argued June 15, 2006
Before: FISHER, CHAGARES and REAVLEY,* Circuit Judges.
*The Honorable Thomas M. Reavley, United States Circuit Judge for the FifthCircuit, sitting by designation.
(Filed September 6, 2006)
Thomas J. Murray (Argued)
Mary S. O’Neil
Murray & Murray
111 East Shoreline Dr.
P.O. Box 19
Sandusky, OH 44871
Counsel for Appellant
Susan L. Bucknum (Argued)
Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy P.C.
690 Lee Rd., Suite 300
Wayne, PA 19087
Counsel for Appellee
OPINION OF THE COURTCHAGARES,
On the evening of July 3, 1999, a one-car crash in Hunterdon County, New Jerseyclaimed Edward Knoster’s life. In this diversity case, appellants Irene Knoster, SylviaRea, and the Estate of Edward Knoster (collectively, “the Knosters”) seek to recoverdamages from the car’s manufacturer, Ford Motor Company. Specifically, they bringfailure-to-warn and design-defect claims under the New Jersey Product Liability Act(“PLA”), N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A:58C-1 to -11, and an additional claim under the NewJersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 56:8-1 to -106.
The District Court dismissed the consumer fraud claim at the close of evidence,and a jury rejected the failure-to-warn and design-defect claims. On appeal, the Knosters challenge two of the District Court’s evidentiary rulings, its jury instructions, and itsdismissal of the consumer fraud claim. As we explain below, neither the District Court’sevidentiary rulings nor its instructions on Ford’s duty to warn contained reversible error. But its design-defect instruction did, and we disagree with its conclusion that the PLAsubsumes the Knosters’ consumer fraud claim. We will therefore affirm in part, reversein part, and remand for further proceedings.