Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chelcher v. Spider Staging Corp. case brief

Chelcher v. Spider Staging Corp. case summary
892 F. Supp. 710 (D.V.I. 1995)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiffs, an injured worker and his family, brought an action against defendant manufacturer for injuries the worker received when using a piece of the manufacturer's equipment in the course of his employment. The worker and his family alleged loss of consortium, strict products liability, and negligent failure to warn. Both parties filed full or partial motions for summary judgment.

-The worker was injured while using one of the manufacturer's scaffolds in his sandblasting work. -The worker sustained permanent damage to his lower back due to the mis-rigging of the scaffold, of which the worker was aware, but he continued to work despite his pain.
-The worker and his family brought an action against the manufacturer.
-The court granted the manufacturer's motion for summary judgment, finding that the worker assumed the risk of working while in obvious pain on the mis-rigged scaffold.
-By doing so the worker consented to the consequential injuries that he sustained and waived the manufacturer's liability for any dangers allegedly caused by the scaffold.

-The court found that evidence of an instruction manual missing from the scaffold was not sufficient to establish a product defect claim and was not the cause-in-fact or proximate cause of the worker's injuries.

-The manufacturer was not negligent under either strict liability or negligence theories and that the worker failed to provide evidence that the manufacturer had a duty to warn of any dangers, that it breached that duty, or that the worker's injuries were proximately caused by the breach.

-Both a plaintiff's want of ordinary due care in his use of a product and plaintiff's unreasonable exposure to a known and appreciable risk of injury should work to diminish plaintiff's recovery in a defective product action, in proportion to the amount of causative culpable conduct attributable to the plaintiff. 

CONCLUSION: The court denied the worker's motion for partial summary judgment and granted the manufacturer's motion for summary judgment. The court closed the worker's action against the manufacturer to recover damages for injuries the worker sustained while using a piece of the manufacturer's equipment.

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