Center for Contract and Economic Organization
Center for Law and Economic Studies
In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick, an automobile company was held liable for negligence notwithstanding a lack of privity with the injured driver. Four decades later, in Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, the court held unconscionable the standard automobile company warranty which limited its responsibility to repair and replacement, even in a case involving physical injury. This suggests a puzzle: if it were so easy for firms to contract out of liability, did MacPherson accomplish anything?
Victor P. Goldberg,
The MacPherson-Henningsen Puzzle,
Columbia Law & Economics Working Paper No. 570
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2050