Ault v. International Harvester Company, 13 C.3d 113 (1974) p.115supplement
While traveling in a Scout vehicle, the vehicle plunged off the road, down a 500 foot canyon severly injuring plaintiff. It was discoved that the gearbox on the vehicle had broken. Whether the gearbox broke from the impact from the car falling down the embankment and landing in the gulley or if it broke before the accident, which is what caused the accident.
Whether evidence can be shown that the manufacturer switched from aluminum to iron, which would act as an admission that the gearbox was defective.
Section 1151 does not apply where the theory is strict liability.
Evidence can be introduced showing the manufacturer switched the metal that the gearbox was made of, thus indicating their fault in making the gearbox out of aluminum.
If the legislature had intended to encompass cases involving strict liability within the ambit of section 1151, it would have used an expression less related to and consistent with affirmative fault than "culpable conduct" - a term which, under defendant's theory, would embrace a moral rather than a legal duty.
This case was overruled by later cases, and the Federal rule was changed to invalidate this case. The FEDERAL rule now specifically says that changes to a product to cover a defect in the product is inadmissible. HOWEVER, the rule in CA still is the same as was used in this case. So the state and federal rules are different. Under Erie, the CA federal court would have to use the CA rule. Though, the federal courts have split on whether this is an Erie question or not. So even though it is in Federal COurt, there is a chance the court would not interpret it as an Erie question.