Sunday, November 10, 2013

Knitz v. Minster Machine Co. case brief

Knitz v. Minster Machine Co. case brief summary
432 N.E.2d 814 (1982)

Appellant, a machine operator, filed a products liability action against appellee manufacturer after her fingers were amputated in a punch press. The Court of Appeals for Lucas County (Ohio) affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the manufacturer. The operator appealed.

The machine operator was using the punch press when she leaned on the bolster plate in order to move the foot pedal back in place with her foot. While doing so, she activated the foot pedal, and the machine descended on her hand, amputating two fingers. A button-tripping device, which required two hands, had been disconnected, and the operator did not have a pullback guard attached to her wrists. The operator alleged that the press was sold in a defective condition, which was dangerous to the user.

  • In reversing the summary judgment for the manufacturer, the court applied the risk-benefit test and held that the operator presented genuine issues of fact, based on expert opinions, as to whether the press design was defective by allowing accidental tripping of the foot pedal control and in failing to provide a point of operation guard when the foot pedal was operative.

The court reversed the summary judgment that was granted in favor of the machine manufacturer and remanded the case.

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