REI shirks responsibility & appeals Monika Johnson case

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reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2011 - 02:13pm PT
If the fork was another company's other than REI (Novara), then that company should be liable....

liable for all physical damages, including head trauma, which may have contributed to her ultimate passing.

edit to add "Novara", an REI house brand.
atchafalaya

Boulder climber
May 19, 2011 - 02:13pm PT
Rox, are you saying that REI is not a COOP?
reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2011 - 02:15pm PT
atchafalaya, ROX, the point of this thread is not the co-opiness of REI. It is their LIABILITY for selling their own defective product. Plenty of other threads to take that convo to.

John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
May 19, 2011 - 02:16pm PT
John, I prefer to agree with what Reddirt posted.

REI's product liability representation exists at the behest of REI, not the other way around.

Just because no such insurance exists at this time, doesn't mean that it can't. It might cost more to have some say in what happens, but thems the breaks when you put your name on something.

Maybe REI should announce that they are seeking a more responsive insurer.
Mangy Peasant

Social climber
Riverside, CA
May 19, 2011 - 02:17pm PT
REI is NOT A CO-OP.

So what is it then?

A public corporation? Nope.

A privately owned corporation? If so, then who owns the assets?

Are the profits distributed to anyone other than the co-op members?

Perhaps their management is overpaid...I don't know. If their compensation is extreme, that would be fraud. Even so, it still doesn't change the definition of their corporate structure.

The reason the board never changes is because, beyond the occasional fleeting internet outrage, no one ever really cares enough to run and/or vote.

Gene

climber
May 19, 2011 - 02:18pm PT
If the fork was another company's other than REI, then that company should be liable....

The appeals court appears to disagree.
Thus, by imposing liability on sellers of branded products for manufacturing defects—which, inevitably, are caused by acts of the manufacturer—our legislature created a statutory form of vicarious liability that enables the claimant injured by a defectively manufactured product to recover fully from the product seller where the seller branded the product as its own.
locker

Social climber
CO
May 19, 2011 - 02:20pm PT


There MUST be STANDARDS for manufacturing the bikes etc...

You can bet that REI would INSIST on those standards being met...

IF they weren't and someone is injured as a result...

why shouldn't the manufacturer be held responsible???...





I only ask out of ignorance NOT to argue with anyone...
reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2011 - 02:22pm PT
Locker: because "the seller branded the product as its own"
locker

Social climber
CO
May 19, 2011 - 02:26pm PT

reddirt...

I KEEP seeing that posted...

Still not buying into it fully however...

It seems MORE complicated than that...





EDITED:

What would be interesting to me is to see how many of those that are posting against REI here, were ALREADY against REI in the first place...

Mangy Peasant

Social climber
Riverside, CA
May 19, 2011 - 02:28pm PT
atchafalaya, ROX, the point of this thread is not the co-opiness of REI. It is their LIABILITY for selling their own defective product. Plenty of other threads to take that convo to.

The courts have already determined liability. We can agree or disagree with the courts but, unless anyone here is lawyer specializing Oregon product liability, we are just arguing from the perspective of our personal ignorance of the law.

Of course there is always the court of public opinion, which is what this thread is really about. And the perceptions of the co-opiness, and the size of the stores, and the nature of the products, etc. have a big influence on how people personally judge this situation.

Tell the same story and with the same facts, but change the name of the company, and you might get a very different set of opinions.


reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2011 - 02:29pm PT
Gene: "If the fork was another company's other than REI, then that company should be liable...."

I meant if it were a non-Novara brand fork on a non-Novara brand bike... even if purchased from REI... then that non-Novara brand would/should/could be liable & REI is merely a conduit, not the owner of that brand.
Gene

climber
May 19, 2011 - 02:30pm PT
Reddirt,

Gotcha!

g
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
May 19, 2011 - 02:35pm PT
Thus, those blaming the insurance company are on target. While I have plenty of issues with REI, which is rapidly becoming a supplier I love to hate (despite being a member since 1967 or '68), I don't think REI could do too much here.

John, even assuming that you (and others) are correct in assuming that REI's hands are tied with regard to the insurance company's decision to appeal, I disagree with your last comment.

While REI may not have been able to prevent its insurer from acting as it did, REI certainly could have done many things to show that it actually cared. If it could not legally pay the woman's medical bills, it could have started, or backed, some kind of campaign to help her. Or taken any number of other steps to show that it understood the difference between legal and moral obligations.

By hiding behind its insurance contract it has made a very public statement that it doesn't give a sh#t about what happened to Monika Johnson. Something which could just as easily have happened to your daughter, btw.

I'm no REI hater, but this is not right.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
May 19, 2011 - 02:41pm PT
A privately owned corporation? If so, then who owns the assets?

Are the profits distributed to anyone other than the co-op members?


If it were a true COOP, there would be a true profit sharing program. It would come in the form of a dividend. What REI has cleverly done is to call their "profit sharing program" a "dividend." BUT it's neither. The "dividend" is based ONLY on what YOU bought, not the profits in total. In a true COOP, members share in profits and income is reinvested, or issued in a dividend depending on the goals of the organization. They may even choose to cut prices. In reality, REI does not distribute profits. Unless you consider 10 percent to be "profit sharing". It sounds more like a marketing budget to me.


My understanding is that REI uses the "member fees", the initial $20, to expand the company as rapidly as possible. The 10 percent you get back, is really not that much considering that prices at REI are high is comparison to online retail and other shops.
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
May 19, 2011 - 02:52pm PT
I'll defer to Big Steve, whose comments on the original poster's link are far better informed than any here. No dog in this fight one way or the other, but how is dying when a cornice breaks off causally connected to a bike accident?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 19, 2011 - 02:54pm PT
Isn't it all Obama's fault? :-)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 19, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
John M,

The only other option for REI would be to self-insure, which I think would be irresponsible. Insurance companies don't allow third parties the right to direct them to settle because of moral hazard issues. If I like the plaintiff that I injured, I could collude with the plaintiff and force the insurance company to overpay. And yes, that sort of thing still happens.

I think as a matter of responsibility and good business, the better approach for REI would have been to pay Monika from its own funds, at least for her medical expenses, immediately and without question, then sue the manufacturer for reimbursement.

As far as I can tell, the appeal is over the trial court's decision to sever the case of damages that Monika suffered from the issue of who pays. Doing so does two things: It gets Monika the right to recover her damages sooner, and it puts both seller and manufacturer on the hook for paying her, which is essentially the proper outcome under standard tort law.

It seems to me that the appeal, in attempting to force one trial rather than two, is really either an unconscionable attempt to delay the payment of damages, or an attempt to change product liability law to parallel modern comparative negligence law in California, where the plaintiff can recover from the defendant only that amount caused by that particular's conduct. This would be a change in current law, and would, IMHO, be to the detriment of consumers generally.

The philosphy behind strict liability for defective products (whose seminal case in California arose in my home town [Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Fresno]), is to spread the cost of injuries suffered from product defects among all users of the product. Thus, in a case where we are not sure who was really at fault, we allocate the cost to the seller and manufacturer, thus making the cost of those injuries a cost of making and selling the product. This cost gets reflected in the price.

If we, instead, tried to parcel out fault when, by assumption, we don't know for sure who is at fault, all we do is delay recovery for the injured party, and increase the administrative cost by adding another layer of lawyering. REI (and its insurer) lost deservedly, based on what I read.

John
locker

Social climber
CO
May 19, 2011 - 02:56pm PT

THREAD DRIFT:




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I DON'T see ANY difference...

Mangy Peasant

Social climber
Riverside, CA
May 19, 2011 - 02:58pm PT
In reality, REI does not distribute profits.

Either the profits go to the members, or they go somewhere else. There is no evidence that anyone but members are receiving profits (which would be fraud.)

Is there a big pile of money accumulating somewhere that should be going back the the members?

So they use their excess cash to grow the business, open more stores, and solicit more members. Which means the dividend amount per member doesn't change, but the number of members grows. But it's still members that get the dividends.

It almost sounds like you are suggesting that they try to pay a bigger dividend to existing members every year. Would that be any more fair?

The dividend system based upon member purchases is transparent and equitable. All members have input into the board selection, and thus ultimately the management decisions.

Somehow people think that once a co-op reaches a certain size, it is no longer a co-op. Why?

In a true COOP, members share in profits and income is reinvested, or issued in a dividend depending on the goals of the organization.

The way you describe REI in your post sounds like it matches the above requirement. What are they doing differently than a "true" co-op?

It's a co-op. A very large co-op that is managed much like a large department store chain, but it's still a co-op.

BTW: I don't have any relationship with REI, have never worked there, and don't really even shop there very often. Just think a lot of the hate is based upon myths.






originalpmac

Mountain climber
Anywhere I like
May 19, 2011 - 03:05pm PT
"REI came to ABQ and all the mom and pop (3 at the time) climbing/outdoor shops closed down.

Forest Service proposed Fee system, REI was all on board; now sells the forest service pass from the customer service desk."

Pretty spot on there. I didn't know about the fees with the FS, but they put an REI in downtown Santa Fe, which for some reason allowed a big chain in, when all of the rest are out on Cerrillos. The SF REI is within a minute walk to the local shop Sangre de Cristo mountain works, a fine shop owned a run by fine people, not to mention the other shops that specialize in downhill skis, or all the local bike shops.

Not trying to drift the thread away from REI's liability, but I think they overall manner in which they do business tells us a lot about what kind of company they really are. I personally haven't shopped there in a couple of years, since I saw them move in on Santa Fe. The Wal-Mart of the outdoors.

And yes, with my limited (understatement) understanding if liability insurance for corporations, I think they should stood by there sh#t. Flaunting all the co-op bullshit and their down to earth image, then not helping out a human with a legitimate claim.. just bull sh#t.
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