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Chamberlain v. Carborundum Co.

decided: September 19, 1973.

JEAN ANN CHAMBERLAIN, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF JOHN L. CHAMBERLAIN, DECEASED,
v.
CARBORUNDUM COMPANY, A CORPORATION, V. BERWIND RAILWAY SERVICE COMPANY, A CORPORATION JEAN ANN CHAMBERLAIN, APPELLANT IN NO. 72-1636 BERWIND RAILWAY SERVICE COMPANY, APPELLANT IN NO. 72-1637



Resubmitted Under Third Circuit Rule 12(6) September 7, 1973. D.C. Civil Action No. 68-1235 APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Adams, Gibbons and Hunter, Circuit Judges.

Author: Gibbons

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Circuit Judge.

In this diversity wrongful death case Pennsylvania law governs. Plaintiff's decedent, John Chamberlain, was killed when an abrasive wheel on a grinder he was using in the course of his employment shattered. A fragment pierced his abdomen. Plaintiff, Chamberlain's administratrix, sued the manufacturer, Carborundum Company, under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death and Survival Statutes, asserting strict liability. See Restatement (Second) of Torts ยง 402A (1965); Webb v. Zern, 422 Pa. 424, 220 A.2d 853 (1966). Carborundum joined as a third-party defendant Berwind Railway Service Company, Chamberlain's employer, seeking contribution from Berwind as a joint tortfeasor because of Berwind's negligence in failing to provide a guard on its grinding wheel. The case was submitted to the jury on special interrogatories which were answered as follows:

1. Was the accident . . . caused by a dangerously defective condition of the grinding wheel . . .?

YES

2. Was that defective condition in existence when the wheel was sold by the Carborundum Company?

YES

3. Was there any negligence on the part of the Berwind Railway Service Co., Mr. Chamberlain's employer, which was a proximate cause of his injuries?

YES

The jury found damages sustained by the decedent's estate and his surviving family totaling $103,100. The district court entered judgment on the jury verdict as follows:

" IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

That judgment be entered in favor of the plaintiff Jean Ann Chamberlain, Administratrix of the Estate of John L. Chamberlain, deceased, and against the defendant and third-party plaintiff, The Carborundum Company, in the amount of $103,100.00, less the amount of payments to date made by the third-party defendant Berwind Railway ...


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