In the early hours of December 4, 1997, 15-year-old Joshua Daniel had the clever idea of throwing baseball-sized chunks of concrete at vehicles on Interstate 5 from the top of a canal levee. He hit three cars before he tossed a 2.5-pound chunk at a big rig driven by William Collins, going through the windshield, hitting Collins in the forehead, and leaving him in a coma. Daniel pled guilty and was sentenced to 12 years.
Collins sued a deep pocket. Guess who?
Yes, the manufacturer of the truck. A jury found for Navistar, but by a 2-1 vote, the California Court of Appeal reversed because the jury instructions permitted the jury to find Daniel an intervening cause.
Leave aside that the criminal is the culpable party here. Leave aside that the rate of serious injury or death from falling or thrown objects crashing through windshields is less than 1 per 20 billion miles, such that this never should have gone to trial in the first place. Is it even physically possible to construct a transparent windshield that will invariably survive a collision with a 2.5-pound block of concrete at highway speeds?