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FORD v. HARNISCHFEGER CORP.

October 30, 1973

William W. FORD, III
v.
HARNISCHFEGER CORPORATION


Gorbey, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GORBEY

GORBEY, District Judge.

 This is an action for personal injuries arising out of an accident occurring on December 22, 1969, in which plaintiff was injured while working at the Edgcomb Steel Company, in Andalusia, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff claims that he was injured while riding on a forklift crane, manufactured by the defendant, and that his injuries were the result of the defective design, assembly, construction and/or manufacture of the machine, which was caused by the negligence and other wrongful conduct of the defendant. The case was tried on May 17, 18, and 21, 1973, before this court without a jury. The following are findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure No. 52.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff, William W. Ford, III, is a citizen and resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, residing therein, at 6165 Erdrick Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 2. Plaintiff is now 30 years of age, and at the time of the accident, was 27 years old.

 3. Plaintiff is married and is the father of three young children. He resides with his family at the Erdrick Street address.

 4. At the time of the accident and for approximately three years prior thereto, plaintiff was employed as a general maintenance worker at the Edgcomb Steel Company, in Andalusia, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff's duties included execution of repairs and maintenance operations on cranes and other machinery at the Edgcomb plant.

 5. Defendant Harnischfeger Corporation is a Wisconsin corporation and maintains its principal place of business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 6. Defendant is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing, fabricating, inspecting, testing and selling various types of industrial machinery, including the "P & H" brand of "power mast overhead cranes", a type of materials handling equipment for use in factories and warehouses.

 7. Defendant Harnischfeger Corporation designed, constructed, assembled, manufactured, tested and inspected a certain machine, known as "P & H Stacker Crane", serial no. CHS-20718.

 8. Sometime in 1965, defendant corporation sold the aforesaid crane to Edgcomb Steel Company, and delivered and installed the said crane to the premises at Edgcomb Steel Company, in Andalusia, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

 9. The crane in question had a rated lifting capacity of three tons and was capable of generating forces considerably in excess of three tons.

 10. The crane hoist in question is controlled by a handcontrol, located in a steel cab, attached to the hoist.

 11. The cab has two window-like openings.

 12. The opening on the front, or fork side, of the cab was not guarded by windows or wire mesh enclosures at the time of the accident.

 13. On December 22, 1969, plaintiff and one of his co-workers at Edgcomb, John J. Wright, were instructed by the maintenance supervisor, Alan Maahs, to ride-up the crane to the ceiling in order to tighten some bolts and nuts which required attention at the top of the crane.

 14. Alan Maahs operated the crane from the cab, and the plaintiff and John Wright rode to the ceiling on the forks.

 15. While they were at the top of the mast, Mr. Maahs was summoned to the ground floor to answer a telephone call.

 16. The cab and the forks were lowered to the floor with fork blades being brought to a halt three to four feet above the floor.

 17. Mr. Maahs left the cab to answer the telephone and the plaintiff and John J. Wright remained standing on the fork blades ...


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