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Miles v. Raymond Corp.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

March 18, 2009, Decided; March 18, 2009, Filed

Case No. 5:08CV00585

Opinion

 [*916]  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on separate motions for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by defendants Andersen & Associates, Inc. ("Andersen") and Raymond Corporation ("Raymond") (collectively, "Defendants"). (Doc. Nos. 42 & 45, respectively). Plaintiffs Jamie Miles (individually and as personal representative of the estate of Karla Grinder) and Karen Schonauer (individually and as legal guardian of minor child  [**2] K.G.,) (collectively, "Miles" or "Plaintiffs") responded to the motions (Doc. Nos. 46 & 48), and Defendants filed replies (Doc. Nos. 47 & 51). The motions are fully briefed and ripe for decision.

I. Introduction 1 

On October 4, 2006, Karla Grinder died when the stand-up forklift she was operating traveled underneath a horizontal rack, causing the rack to intrude into her operating space, striking her back and pushing her body up onto the operator's panel, effectively crushing her between the rack and the operator's panel. (Compl. P 10.) Grinder died of compressive asphyxia. (Id. P 11.) The forklift she was operating was manufactured by Raymond and had been sold to Grinder's employer, Wooster Brush, by Defendants in October 2003. (Id. PP 9, 15.)

Plaintiffs bring this wrongful death action against Raymond and Andersen based upon their alleged involvement in the manufacturing and marketing of the forklift at issue. Plaintiffs filed  [**3] their initial complaint on March 6, 2008, and amended it on October 6, 2008. In the amended complaint, they assert the following claims: design defect (against Raymond (Count I) and against Andersen (Count VII)); 2 inadequate pre-sale warning or instruction (against Raymond (Count II) and against Andersen (Count VIII)); inadequate post-sale warning or instruction (against Raymond (Count III) and against Andersen (Count IX)); failure to conform to representation (against Raymond (Count IV) and against Andersen (Count VI)); direct statutory liability in negligence (against Andersen only (Count V); common law negligence (against Raymond (Count X) and against Andersen (Count XI)); breach of warranties (against both Raymond and Andersen (Count XII)); wrongful death (against both Raymond and Andersen (Count XIII)); survival (against both Raymond and Andersen (Count XIV)); and punitive damages (against both Raymond and Andersen (Count XV)).

In their motions for judgment on the pleadings, both Defendants seek dismissal of the common  [**4] law negligence and breach of warranties claims, contending that the Ohio General Assembly abrogated all such claims when it enacted the current version of the Ohio Products Liability Act (the "OPLA"), Ohio Revised Code § 2307.71 et seq., which became effective April 7, 2005, before Plaintiffs' claims accrued. Additionally, Raymond asks the Court to dismiss the inadequate pre- and post-sale warning claims against it on grounds that those claims, as pleaded by Plaintiffs, fail as a matter of law. Plaintiffs respond by arguing that their common law negligence and breach of warranty claims are not "product liability claims" within the meaning  [*917]  of the statute and, therefore, were not abrogated. Plaintiffs also maintain that the inadequate warning claims asserted against Raymond are cognizable under the OPLA and are legally sufficient based upon the facts set forth in the complaint.

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612 F. Supp. 2d 913 *; 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22466 **; 68 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 405

JAMIE MILES, et al., Plaintiffs, v. RAYMOND CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

warranty, forklift, manufacturer, abrogated, preemption, Assembly, horizontal, privity, compensatory, post-sale, intrusion, foreseeable, cognizable, preempted, accrued, conform, hazard

Civil Procedure, Judgments, Pretrial Judgments, Judgment on Pleadings, Federal & State Interrelationships, Choice of Law, General Overview, Torts, Products Liability, Procedural Matters, Preemption, Express Preemption, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Implied Preemption, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Breach, Breach of Warranty, Commercial Law (UCC), Contract Provisions, Warranties, Theories of Liability, Contracts Law, Breach of Contract Actions, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Types of Defects, Marketing & Warning Defects