Halloran v. Virginia Chemicals
41N.Y.2d 386, 393 N.Y.S.2d 341, 361 N.E.2d 991 (1977)
- Halloran was a mechanic. He was working with a can of refrigerant made by Virginia when it exploded and he was injured. He sued for product liability.
- Virginia argued that Halloran heated the can up too hot, ignoring the warning labels on the product and making himself contributorily negligent.
- At trial, Virginia attempted to introduce testimony that Halloran had in the past, often used a heater to heat the can.
- Halloran objected on the grounds that evidence was inadmissible.
- Virginia argued that the evidence was admissible under FRE 406 to show that Halloran had a habit of heating the cans of refrigerant.
- The Trial Judge excluded the evidence.
- The Trial Judge found that Halloran didn’t always heat the cans, therefore it wasn’t a habit.
- The Trial Court found for Halloran. Virginia appealed.
- The Appellate Court affirmed. Virginia appealed.
- The New York Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial.
- The New York Supreme Court found that Virginia isn’t required to show that Halloran always heated the cans, only that he did so on a regular basis.
- If Virginia could show that Halloran heated cans on a ‘regular’ basis, then the evidence would be admissible and Halloran could argue how much weight to give it.
- It was left up to the Trial Court to determine how many instances of conduct Virginia would have to show in order for Halloran’s conduct to be considered ‘regular’.