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CHELTON v. KEYSTONE OILFIELD SUPPLY CO.

April 24, 1991

CHARLES D. CHELTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEYSTONE OILFIELD SUPPLY COMPANY, INC. AND UGI DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, DEFENDANTS, V. BARON MANUFACTURING COMPANY AND HENSSGEN HARDWARE CORP., HENSSGEN G.M.B.H. A/K/A HENSSGEN KARABINERHAKEN G.M.B.H. AND MITTELMAN AND COMPANY, THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cohill, Chief Judge.

OPINION

Presently before the Court are several motions for summary judgment. Every party, except the plaintiff, has moved for summary judgment against every other party. These motions are the culmination of months of discovery disputes and motions for sanctions.

Specifically, the tedious and tortured path of this case has now led to the following motions:

1) Defendants/third-party plaintiffs' Motions for Summary Judgment Against all three third-party defendants;

2) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment against the plaintiff;

3) Third-party defendant Baron Manufacturing Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (presumably against the defendant/third-party plaintiff though that is not specifically stated anywhere in the motions or briefs);

4) Third-party defendant Baron Manufacturing Company's Motion for Summary Judgment against third-party defendants Mittelman & Company and Henssgen Karabinerhaken G.m.b.H.;

5) Third-party defendants' Mittlemann & Co. and Henssgen Karabinerhaken G.m.b.H. Motion for Summary Judgment against defendants/third-party plaintiffs;

6) Third-party defendant Henssgen Hardware Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment against defendants/third-party plaintiffs.

Given that all these motions arise out of the same incident we will dispose of them in one opinion.

Facts

On August 8, 1985, Mr. Charles D. Chelton was working on an oil rig located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, specifically Rig # 6. He fell from that rig when the snap hook holding him to the climber's assist cable broke. Mr. Chelton suffered serious injuries from the fall. Mr. Chelton then sued his employer's parent company and his employer's wholly owned subsidiary for providing him with a defective snap hook. The complaint contains three causes of action. The first cause of action is negligence, the second is strict product liability and the third is breach of warranty.

The parent company named as the defendant in this action is UGI Development Company ("UGI"). At the time of the accident Mr. Chelton was employed by International Petroleum Services Company ("IPSCO"), a wholly owned subsidiary of UGI. IPSCO also has a wholly owned subsidiary named Keystone Oilfield Supply Company ("KOSCO") which Mr. Chelton also named as the defendant in his suit.

IPSCO drills oil and gas on property owned or leased by its customers. KOSCO sells oilfield drilling supplies to drillers. The plaintiff has presented evidence that, in the early 1980's, IPSCO instigated a policy that IPSCO would purchase all supplies from KOSCO. As a result, Mr. Chelton named KOSCO as a defendant as well.

Both KOSCO and UGI are defendants because the plaintiff contends they supplied him with the defective hook. The sellers of a defective product could be liable to the plaintiff under any of the three theories of liability in the complaint.

KOSCO/UGI subsequently filed cross claims against Henssgen Hardware Corporation ("HHC") and Baron Manufacturing Company ("Baron"), supposedly the only distributors of this type of snap hook in the United States. After further investigation, KOSCO also joined Mittelman & Company ("Mittelman"), the alleged manufacturer of the ...


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