Gen. Motors Corp. v. Saenz ex rel. Saenz – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Gen. Motors Corp. v. Saenz ex rel. Saenz, 873 S.W.2d 353 (Tex. 1993), the issue was whether General Motors had adequately warned about the risk of overloading a vehicle. Id. at 360.

The Texas Supreme Court held that the warning sticker, which was located where gross vehicle weights are customarily placed, at eye level on the driver's doorjamb, and the presence of the operator manual inside of the vehicle, were sufficient to give the user reasonable notice of the warning. Id. at 361.

The fact that the warning could have been more prominent did not entitle the plaintiff to a presumption that better or more prominent instructions in the case would have been followed. See id.

The Court pointed out:

"Every warning can always be made bigger, brighter and more obvious. GM could have placed the warning where it could not possibly have been overlooked, perhaps engraved upon the dashboard, or backlit on the instrument panel. But it clearly would not be possible for GM to place every important warning in such a position of maximum prominence. It can always be argued that a single instruction should have been given more prominence and if it had, an accident might have been prevented. This argument, however, must be considered in the context of the product involved. When, as here, it is important to give a number of instructions concerning the operation of a vehicle, not all of them can be printed on the dashboard. Indeed, the more instructions and warnings that are printed in one place--on the dashboard, on a doorplate, or in the owner's manual--the less likely that any one instruction or warning will be noticed." Id. at 360-61.