" of Carley. Fourth, there is no fraudulent evasion of liability. Fifth, Federal's purchases do not bring it within the "product line" exception. This last exception, developed as a departure from rigid, formal notions of merger and liability, focuses instead on the policy underlying § 402A liability, that a manufacturer who benefits from the sale of a product should bear the cost of injuries which result and pass these costs along as a cost of doing business. Savini at 718, Dawejko 434 A.2d at 109. The "product line" exception distributes the cost of injuries resulting from the manufacture of defective products to corporations acquiring the assets of the previous manufacturer where it would be fair and just because the acquiring corporation continues substantially the same business and same manufacturing operation. Savini at 718. Public policy and fairness do not support a determination of liability as to Federal, the purchaser of only $ 600.00 worth of tools and parts from Carley.
It is also clear that as a matter of law Federal cannot be held liable for plaintiff's injuries under § 402A on the basis that it sold replacement parts for a machine which, for the purposes of this motion, we will assume was defectively designed. In order for plaintiff to establish liability under this theory he must show that Federal both sold a defective product and that the defective product was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries. Berkebile v. Brantly Helicopter Corp., 462 Pa. 83, 95, 337 A.2d 893, 898 (1975). "s 402A ... is not meant to impose upon each manufacturer and seller an absolute liability as insurer for all injuries to consumers regardless of the relation of plaintiff's injuries to the particular defendants' product." Southwire v. Beloit Eastern Corp., 370 F. Supp. 842, 858 (E.D.Pa.1974). Proximate cause is generally a question for the jury but the Court properly should rule on the question when there is no genuine issue of material fact. Schreffler v. Birdsboro Corp., 490 F.2d 1148, 1154 (3d Cir. 1974), Meuller v. Jeffrey Mfg. Co., 494 F. Supp. 275, 277 (E.D.Pa.1980).
Plaintiff does not allege a manufacturing defect in the rollers sold by Federal but claims that there is a design defect because Federal did not provide a guard or other safety devices for the press and did not give a warning about the risk of not having a safety guard. The absence of safety devices or warnings may be design defects in the press but they are not design defects in the rollers. The uncontroverted facts show that the rollers sold by Federal were neither defectively manufactured nor defectively designed. If the rollers were defective, there might well be a basis for liability under Pennsylvania law. Burbage v. Boiler Engineering and Supply, 433 Pa. 319, 249 A.2d 563 (1969). However, since Federal is not a "successor corporation" and since the uncontroverted facts show that the rollers were not defectively manufactured or designed, there is no basis in law upon which a jury could find § 402A liability as to Federal.
Plaintiff relies on the case of Taylor v. Paul O. Abbe, 516 F.2d 145 (3d Cir. 1975) to support his claim that Federal had a duty to at least offer to provide a safety guard for the press. The facts in the present case, however, do not bring it within the implications of Abbe. In Abbe, the defendant designed and manufactured a replacement sub-assembly for a pebble mill, which included two exposed gears. The purchaser refused defendant's offer to provide a guard for the gears and plaintiff was later injured when his hand was caught between them. Our Third Circuit, applying Pennsylvania law, held that the defendant was not liable for the absence of a guard because the purchaser had refused to buy the guard.
In Abbe, the defendant visited the purchaser's plant, inspected the machinery to be replaced and designed and manufactured an entire sub-assembly for the machine. None of these circumstances are present in this case. Federal never visited the job site to inspect the fifty-year-old machine nor did it install the rollers on the machine. Federal had no knowledge as to whether the press was equipped with safety devices. Federal did not manufacture or sell the complete press or an assembly where a safety guard would normally be attached. The two replacement rollers sold by Federal became dangerous only when they were installed by McAdoo in the press. Therefore, there is no basis in law for imposing § 402A liability on Federal on the basis of the facts uncontested in this motion.
Taylor v. Abbe supports our determination that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would not extend § 402A liability to cover the uncontested facts in this case.
We believe that the requirement that liability only be imposed where the manufacturer is responsible for the defective condition is necessarily implicit in § 402A.
Abbe at 147.
Plaintiff's complaint also alleges liability on the basis of negligence and breach of warranty. The uncontroverted facts fail to support plaintiff's claim of negligence. "Negligence is the want of due care which a reasonable man would exercise under the circumstances." Gift v. Palmer, 392 Pa. 628, 141 A.2d 408 (1958). It is established that a negligence claim must fail if based on circumstances for which the law imposes no duty of care on the defendant. Bradshaw v. Rawlings, 612 F.2d 135, 138 (3d Cir. 1979). The uncontroverted facts presently before the Court in this summary judgment motion present no basis in law supporting plaintiff's allegation that Federal was negligent in selling the replacement rollers. To the contrary, the depositions and affidavits reveal that Federal did not design nor manufacture the defective press. On the assumption that the press was defectively designed, the law does not impose a duty on the seller of replacement parts to undertake an independent safety investigation of their intended use.
In the absence of any specific allegation of breach of an express warranty, it is assumed that the plaintiff's complaint refers to breach of an implied warranty of merchantability or an implied warranty of fitness. See: 13 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 2314 and 2315 (formerly Pa.Stat.Ann. (Purdons) tit. 12A §§ 2-314 and 2-315). The uncontroverted record does not reveal any facts showing that the parts sold by Federal were defective. Therefore, there can be no breach of an implied warranty of merchantability. Since there is likewise no evidence of the purchaser's reliance on Federal's expertise in selecting the replacement parts, there can be no implied warranty of fitness.
For the reasons stated herein, the Court will enter an Order granting summary judgment for the defendant, Federal Machine Co., and against the plaintiff, Brian G. Wright.
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