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JOHN W. SHEEHAN AND BEVERLY SHEEHAN v. CINCINNATI SHAPER COMPANY (03/09/89)

decided: March 9, 1989.

JOHN W. SHEEHAN AND BEVERLY SHEEHAN, HIS WIFE
v.
CINCINNATI SHAPER COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment entered June 8, 1988, Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Civil Division at No. G.D. 84-10304.

COUNSEL

Charles Kirshner, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

John J. Morgan, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Brosky, Del Sole and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 382 Pa. Super. Page 582]

Cincinnati Shaper Company (Shaper) appeals from a judgment in a strict liability action in favor of John and Beverly Sheehan. We are asked to consider whether the rule precluding the introduction of industry standards in a strict liability action as pronounced in Majdic v. Cincinnati Machine Co., 370 Pa. Super. 611, 537 A.2d 334 (1988) should be extended to preclude the introduction of OSHA regulations as well. We conclude that it should and thus affirm.

Employed as a machine operator for Pittsburgh Bridge and Iron Works (PBI), John Sheehan was responsible for cutting steel strips on a shear designed, manufactured and sold by Shaper. On September 29, 1982 while Sheehan was adjusting the position of the last piece of steel to be cut by putting his right hand around an awareness barrier, the shear malfunctioned, resulting in the amputation of several of Sheehan's fingers. The Sheehans brought a strict liability action against Shaper alleging that the shear was defective because it lacked adequate warnings and safety devices and because the shear malfunctioned by making repeat rotations while it was programmed to rotate only once. After trial by jury, a verdict award in the amount of $150,000 was returned against Shaper. Delay damages were added to the verdict. Post-trial motions were filed and denied. This appeal followed.

[ 382 Pa. Super. Page 583]

Shaper contends that the trial court committed error at trial as follows:

I. IN REFUSING TO PERMIT DEFENDANT TO PUT OSHA STANDARDS INTO EVIDENCE?

II. IN REFUSING TO PERMIT DEFENDANT TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE THAT IT OFFERED TO PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER AN IMPROVED GUARD FOR THE SHEAR?

III. WHEN AFTER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S POINTS FOR CHARGE NUMBERED 4, 6 AND 13, IN FAILING TO INSTRUCT THE JURY ON THOSE POINTS, AND CONTINUING TO REFUSE EVEN AFTER SPECIFICALLY BEING REQUESTED TO DO SO?

IV. IN FAILING TO ADVISE THE JURY THAT IN CLOSING ARGUMENT, PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL MISREPRESENTED THE EVIDENCE AND ...


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