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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
September 27, 1996, Decided
[*1324] CARL E. STEWART, Circuit Judge:
In this Louisiana products liability action, [**2] a jury awarded the plaintiffs over $ 6 million for injuries sustained because a fork fell off a forklift and struck Anthony Guillory in the head. The jury found that the forklift was improperly installed and maintained by Anthony Guillory's employer, Domtar Industries. The jury also found that the manufacturers, Deere & Company and John Deere Industrial Equipment Company ("Deere"), provided inadequate warnings regarding the forklift. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Domtar because the Louisiana workers' compensation scheme limited the plaintiffs' recovery against Guillory's employer. Thus, though the jury apportioned eighty percent fault to Domtar and twenty percent fault to Deere, Louisiana's laws of solidary obligation required Deere to pay 100% of the judgment. Deere appeals challenging several rulings of the district court as well as the findings of the jury. After thoroughly reviewing the record and finding no error with either the rulings or the findings, we affirm the jury's award for the plaintiffs.
Anthony Guillory, an employee of Domtar Industries, worked as a welder in a salt mine located on Cote Blanche Island in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. [**3] On September 8, 1990, Guillory was injured while assisting two co-employees, Irvin Boutte and Stafford Caesar, in the replacement of a section of conveyor belt framework. 2 Boutte was operating a John Deere 380 forklift to move the section of conveyor system. The men attached the section of the conveyor system to the left fork with a chain. When the conveyor system got caught on a suspension cable, Guillory went to the right side of the forklift, freed the conveyor, and signaled Boutte to continue the lift. After he freed the conveyor, Guillory stood about three feet from the conveyor and seven feet from the front tire of the forklift; he was not standing underneath either the conveyor or the fork. Moments later, the right fork fell from the forklift and struck Guillory in the head.
Domtar purchased the John Deere 380 forklift from a John Deere dealership in [*1325] 1980. Harlo Products, Inc., one of the defendants, manufactured the mast system [**4] and component parts that Deere incorporated into the 380 forklift. The 380 forklift originally came equipped with a set of forks with capacities of 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. Harlo also manufactures a set of forks with a 6,000 pound capacity, which is similar in appearance and dimension to the 4,000/5,000 pound fork. The John Deere 380 forklift parts catalog improperly listed the 6,000 pound fork as an appropriate fork for the 380 forklift. Before Guillory's accident, when the original forks became bent, Domtar replaced them with the 6,000 pound forks listed in the catalog. Deere never advised its users that the listing of the 6,000 pound fork in the 380 parts catalog was erroneous.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
95 F.3d 1320 *; 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 25875 **; 45 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 797; 35 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1519
Anthony GUILLORY, Mary Guillory, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. DOMTAR INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED, Defendant-Third Party Defendant Intervenor-Appellee, v. JOHN DEERE INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY, Defendant-Third Party Defendant Plaintiff-Appellant, and JOHN DEERE COMPANY, Defendant, Deere & Company, Defendant-Third Party Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HARLO PRODUCTS CORPORATION, Defendant-Third Party Defendant Intervenor, TRANSAMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, Third Party Defendant Intervenor-Appellee. Anthony GUILLORY, Mary Guillory, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. DOMTAR INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED, Defendant-Appellee, John Deere Company, Defendant, John Deere Industrial Equipment Company, Defendant-Appellant.
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. CA-91-2083, CA-91-2090. Mildred Methvin, US Magistrate Judge.
forks, summary judgment, forklift, district court, conveyor, bolts, settlement, warn, videotape, falling, plaintiffs', retaining, miners, pound, hit, reconsider, workers' compensation, demonstrates, photographs, parties, argues, users, imposition of sanctions, settlement conference, intentional act, material fact, manufacturer, credibility, evidentiary, sanctioned
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