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Romans v. Tex. Instruments, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth Appellate District, Madison County

November 18, 2013, Decided

CASE NO. CA2013-04-012

Opinion

HENDRICKSON, P.J.

 [*P1]  Plaintiff-appellant, Peter Romans, individually and as the Administrator for the Estates of Billi, Ami, and Caleb Romans, appeals a decision from the Madison County Court of  [**2] Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of defendants-appellees, Sensata Technologies, Inc. (Sensata) and Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC (Bridgestone).

I. Background

 [*P2]  In the early morning hours of April 6, 2008, a fire started in Romans' 2001 Ford Expedition, which was parked in the carport adjacent to the Romans' home, and quickly spread to the house. While Romans was able to escape the house, unfortunately, Romans' wife, Billi, and two children, Ami and Caleb, were unable to escape and tragically died in the fire. 1 At the time of the fire, the Expedition's engine was off and the key was not in the ignition.

 [*P3]  On February 24, 2009, Romans filed a products liability wrongful death action against Ford Motor Company (Ford), the manufacturer  [**3] of the Expedition. Romans alleged that Ford's negligence and various defects in the Expedition resulted in the electrical fire that caused personal injury to Romans and the death of his wife and children.

 [*P4]  Romans filed a second lawsuit on March 29, 2010, against Sensata and Bridgestone. 2 Sensata manufactured the speed control deactivation switch (SCDS), a component part of the Expedition's brake and cruise control systems. The SCDS disengages the cruise control system when the brake pedal is depressed and the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid increases. Romans brought several claims against Sensata including negligence and statutory products liability under R.C. 2307.74, R.C. 2307.75, and R.C. 2307.76. In his complaint, Romans alleged that the SCDS was (1) defective in the manufacture, construction, and design of the switch, and (2) defective due to inadequate warnings, and that such defects caused the fire in his Expedition.

 [*P5]  Romans also brought claims against Bridgestone, which arose out of service work Bridgestone performed on Romans' Expedition a few weeks before the fire. Romans alleged that Bridgestone was negligent in failing to repair the Expedition's braking and electrical systems, failing to warn of the defects and fire hazards associated with the cruise control system and the SCDS, and failing to disable or disconnect the Expedition's cruise control system and the SCDS. Romans' claims against Ford, Sensata, and Bridgestone were consolidated into one action.

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2013-Ohio-5089 *; 2013 Ohio App. LEXIS 5288 **; 2013 WL 6094299

PETER ROMANS, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Billi, Ami and Caleb Romans, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant, - vs - TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, INC., et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History: Discretionary appeal not allowed by Romans v. Tex. Instruments, Inc., 138 Ohio St. 3d 1451, 2014-Ohio-1182, 2014 Ohio LEXIS 717, 5 N.E.3d 668 (2014)

Prior History:  [**1] CIVIL APPEAL FROM MADISON COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS. Case Nos. CVC20090074 and CVC20100126.

Romans v. Tex. Instruments, Inc., 2013 Ohio Misc. LEXIS 111 (Ohio C.P., Mar. 13, 2013)

Disposition: Judgment affirmed.

CORE TERMS

brake, switch, manufacturer, repair, fuse, platform, electrical, fluid, customer, seal, leaking, symptoms, panther, truck, cylinder, disable, inspect, cruise, ignition, replaced, genuine, shop, assembled, undisputed, feasible, vacuum, speed, orientation, hazard, pedal

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Opposing Materials, Accompanying Documentation, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Governments, Legislation, Statutory Remedies & Rights, Torts, Products Liability, Types of Defects, Marketing & Warning Defects, Manufacturing Defects, Design Defects, Evidence, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, Theories of Liability, Strict Liability, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Negligence, Elements, Questions of Fact & Law, Elements, Duty, Affirmative Duty to Act