Court denies defendant's motion for summary judgment regarding plaintiff's strict liability and negligence claims against manufacturer of rebar web assembly.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff's use of the rebar web assembly exceeded its intended, foreseeable use because he did not use a fall arrest lanyard or compatible attachment to the transmission tower. The motion was denied because the defendant's marketing materials, the testimony of several fact witnesses and the defendant's general manager established that the rebar web assembly was a "hands free" positioning device designed to hold a worker in a safe working position regardless of whether a personal fall protection system was used or not. Other evidence demonstrated that the accident occurred because the rebar web assembly incorporated a hook that allowed the device to detach from an anchor point and "roll out" during normal usage and under less than 76 pounds of pressure. The court also rejected the defendant's argument that the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of injury. Although there was evidence that the plaintiff appreciated the "general risk of falling," the defendant presented no evidence that the plaintiff understood the "specific risk of the pelican hook disengaging" if less than 76 pounds of pressure was applied to the locking gage of the hook.
Case Law Alert - 1st Qtr 2012