Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summary Judgment Granted in Part and Denied in Part Under Tincher Analysis

In the case of Mercurio v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., No. 3:16-CV-412 (M.D. Pa. May 31, 2018 Mariani, J.), the court granted summary judgment in part and denied it in part in a design defect products liability case. 

The case arose out of a Plaintiff's fall from a ladder.

In this decision, the court noted that the admissibility of the Plaintiff’s design defect expert required a Daubert hearing on the Defendant's Motion in Limine seeking to preclude the Plaintiff's expert from testifying. 

The court additionally found that there was no basis for the Plaintiff’s expert’s opinion that the warnings on the product at issue were defective.  The court noted that the expert’s opinion in this regard was a spur of the moment comment during depositions.    The court additionally found that the Plaintiff’s expert was not qualified to evaluate the warnings at issue.  

Judge Robert D. Mariani
M.D. Pa.
Judge Mariani also concluded that, under the new post-Tincher law, compliance with industry standards by the defense is evidence that a jury may consider as relevant to a product’s risk/utility defect test.  

The court also reaffirmed that the Azzarello case was overruled by the Tincher decision.  

Judge Mariani also confirmed that, under the current status of Pennsylvania products liability law, there is no longer a bright line between negligence and strict liability theories in a given case.  

In the end, the court denied the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment relative to the design defect and breach of implied warranty claims.  However, the court did grant the Defendant summary judgment on the claims of a manufacturing defect, inadequate warning, and breach of express warranty.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  Here is a LINK to the companion Order entered in the case.

I send thanks for Attorney James M. Beck of the Reed Smith Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for bringing this case to my attention.  

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