Negligence – Duty of Care – Manufacturer’s Duty to Warn of Obvious Dangers

Plaintiff purchased a “Lithe-Line” exerciser, a rubber rope forty inches long with a loop on each end, manufactured by defendant Helena Rubenstein, Inc. With the exerciser plaintiff received a leaflet of instructions stating that “anybody” could reduce with it, and containing sketches and descriptions of eight exercises. While plaintiff was lying on the floor with the rope under her feet doing one of the exercises, the rope slipped off her feet and snapped back, hitting her in the eye and causing partial loss of vision. She sued the manufacturer for negligence, alleging that the exerciser was inherently dangerous when used as directed, and that defendant had a duty to warn her of such danger. The district court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, held, affirmed, four judges dissenting. A manufacturer has no duty to warn of an obvious danger. That the impact and extent of recoil of a rubber rope are proportional to the tension placed upon it, and that the rope might slip, are dangers so obvious as to warrant summary judgment without submission of the case to the jury. Jamieson v. Woodward & Lothrop, (D.C. Cir. 1957) 247 F. (2d) 23.