Product Liability

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Products Liability Research Paper
By Bobby Brown

Sunbeam is an American made brand that has produced various household appliances since 1910. Their products have included the Mixmaster mixer, the Sunbeam waffle iron, Coffeemaster, and an automatic toaster. In 1928, the company's head designer, Swedish immigrant Ivar Jeppsson, invented the Mixmaster mixer. Introduced to the public in 1930, it was the first mechanical mixer with two detachable beaters whose blades interlocked. Barbara Thompson purchased a Sunbeam Mixmaster at Wal-Mart on October 10, 2007. Mrs. Thompson was familiar with electric hand mixers and had owned a Black & Decker mixer for about twenty years before purchasing the Sunbeam mixer. When she decided to use the mixer, she briefly scanned over the safety instructions in the manual. Under this heading, the manual stated, make sure the speed control is in the "OFF" position and unplugged from an electrical outlet. Mrs. Thompson's ring finger was pulled into the two beaters. She tried unsuccessfully to turn the mixer off and finally placed it on the counter and unplugged it. Her finger was lodged in between the beaters and was still attached on one edge. Mrs.Thompson also sustained cuts on the underside of her third and fifth fingers. She called to her husband for assistance, and she was taken to the hospital. Her finger was later amputated in the knuckle area.

The mixer purchased by Mrs. Thompson was the Sunbeam Mixmaster model 2524, which was manufactured and designed by Simatelex, a Chinese corporation. When the mixer is in production at Simatelex, Sunbeam's quality organization in Hong Kong goes to the plant, verifies that the manufacturer performed required tests, and randomly picks samples to make sure that the mixers are properly packaged and operate properly. The mixers usually have their switches in the "off" position when packaged, but the user could inadvertently hit the switch while using the handle to remove the mixer from the...
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