Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Summary Judgment Granted in Fall From Ladder Products Liability Case

In the case of White v. The Home Depot, Inc., No. 5:17-cv-4174 (E.D. Pa. May 10, 2018 Leeson, Jr., J.), the court granted Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment in Plaintiff’s action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty due to the Plaintiff’s fall off of a ladder while painting his bathroom. 

According to the Opinion, the Defendants contended that the Plaintiff tried to move the ladder while still standing on it.   It was the Plaintiff’s contrary assertion that he did not feel the ladder move before he fell and that he did not know what happened.  

The court noted that the Plaintiff did not allege that there was any mechanically wrong with the ladder, its structure or its design.  

As part of these proceedings, the Defendants moved to exclude the testimony of the Plaintiff’s experts opining that the warnings on the ladder were inadequate.  The court found that this expert testimony was inadmissible because it did not satisfy the reliability and fit requirements.   According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff’s expert did not inspect the ladder or the bathroom floor, did not conduct any witness interviews, and did not reconstruct the accident or even perform any test on the ladder.  

Accordingly, the court held that the Plaintiffs’ claims failed because no reasonable jury could conclude that the ladder was defective.   To the contrary, the court stated that the Defendants did warn of the dangers of the ladder slipping on the surface below and that the Plaintiff knew or that warning.  As the Plaintiff never testified as to any additional warnings he felt that he needed with respect to the ladder and otherwise failed to explain while the general warning not to set the ladder on a loose or slippery surface was inadequate, the court entered summary judgment.  

To review this decision, click this LINK.

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