July 20, 2021 | Vol. 271

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Products Liab   Design Defect   Warnings   Causation   Experts   Question of Fact  

Second Department
Manufacturer failed to eliminate issues of fact where it submitted conflicting opinions of its and plaintiffs’ experts of whether rollers injured-plaintiff’s hand got caught in while trying to clean one of the rollers were defectively designed, including lack of an emergency stop device, and whether the defects were a proximate cause of the injuries.

Plaintiff’s testimony rollers were 4”-5” apart when he placed his hand between them, and his expert’s opinion that lack of warnings meant an improperly trained worker could not discover the danger of the rollers coming together raised an issue on adequate warnings in opposition to manufacturer’s expert’s opinion that the pinch hazard would have been obvious to an experienced person from the “normal separation” of the rollers. Rampersaud v Hsieh Hsu Mach. Co., Ltd.    

Comment: Further details are described in the summaries of the 2-related decisions below.

Products Liab   Intervening Cause   Sole Cause   Grave Injury   3rd Party Contractor  

Second Department
Employer met burden for summary judgment dismissing manufacture’s cross-claim on proof worker was sole, intervening cause by placing hand between operating rollers without shutting machine off because supervisor did not specifically tell him to turn it off where he had always turned off the rollers before cleaning them at the end of his shift. Manufacturer and plaintiffs raised issue in opposition on proof supervisor was standing there when worker placed his hand between rollers, rollers were initially 4”-5” apart but then came closer together, and they could not come closer without some user input. Employer also failed to show plaintiff did not sustain a grave injury.

Employer’s motion to dismiss case against maintenance/repair company academic maintenance/repair company was granted summary judgment. Rampersaud v Hsieh Hsu Mach. Co., Ltd.    

Comment: 3rd-party contractor who maintained/repaired machine “as-needed” without a routine maintenance/inspection contract granted summary judgment on proof it did not negligently perform any work on the machine before the accident. Rampersaud v Hsieh Hsu Mach. Co., Ltd.

Malpractice   Set Aside Verdict   Jury Charge   Res Ipsa Loquitor   Causation   Experts  

Second Department
Conflicting expert opinions of whether plaintiff’s brachial plexus nerve injury was caused by a supraclavicular nerve block during surgery or a work injury eliminated any inference of negligence from mere occurrence of injury justifying trial court’s denial of request for res ipsa loquitor charge. Verdict not against weight of evidence as jury could choose which expert to credit. Knapp v Soffer    

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About Matt McMahon

Civil trials and appeals since 1984. Retired partner McMahon | McCarthy.
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