Richetta v. Stanley Fastening Sys.

L.P., 661 F. Supp. 2d 500 (E.D. Pa. 2009)

 

RULE:

When Berrier v. Simplicity Mfg., 563 F.3d 38 applies to a case, the court must apply Sections 1 and 2 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts to the plaintiff's strict liability product liability claim under Pennsylvania law.

FACTS:

Plaintiffs, a construction worker and his wife, sued for injuries sustained by plaintiff worker when a nail gun manufactured by defendant manufacturer fell off a ladder and discharged a nail into his body. Plaintiffs alleged strict liability and also sought punitive damages and consortium damages. Plaintiffs contended that the nail gun was defectively designed because it did not have a safety switch or trigger lock. Defendant separately moved for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the strict liability and punitive damages claims. The trial court denied defendant's motion seeking summary judgment as to plaintiffs' strict liability claim but granted defendant's summary judgment motion dismissing plaintiffs' punitive damages claim.

ISSUE:

Was defendant manufacturer entitled to a summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the strict liability claim filed by plaintiff worker who was injured by defendant’s nail gun?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Sections 1 and 2 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts applied. There were disputed factual issues precluding summary judgment since plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the nail gun was defectively designed due to its lack of a safety switch or trigger lock device. In particular, plaintiffs presented evidence showing that there was a foreseeable risk of inadvertent firings and that a reasonable alternative design would prevent the risk of inadvertent firings and injuries.

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