Instead, to succeed on a
product liability claim, plaintiffs must show that there was a defect, and
that the defect was the cause of the fire. Without expert testimony, a
reasonable jury could not find from this evidence that the toaster oven
contained a manufacturing or design defect that defect caused the fire. I
have concluded that plaintiff's expert may not testify that the there was
a design or manufacturing defect in the toaster oven. Therefore, I
conclude that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether
the toaster oven was defective, or whether a defect caused the fire.
Accordingly, summary judgment will be granted in favor of defendants
Black & Decker and against plaintiffs Jacob and Kathleen Booth.
There is another defendant in this case: the Caldor Corporation. Caldor
was severed from the related case, and later dismissed from that case by
stipulation. Magistrate Judge M. Faith Angell entered an order on June
11, 1999 (Document No. 10), which stated that the plaintiffs in this
case, the Booths, had represented that they intended to dismiss Caldor
from the case. That order contained a provision under which the parties
were to file a stipulation of dismissal as to Caldor. Almost two years
have passed since that order was entered, and no stipulation has been
filed. Therefore, technically, Caldor is still in this case. I have
concluded on the motion of the manufacturer of the toaster oven, Black &
Decker, that there no reasonable jury could find on this record that the
toaster oven was defective and caused the fire. That conclusion applies
with equal force to the Caldor Corporation; plaintiff simply has not
established a genuine issue of material fact concerning the defectiveness
of the toaster oven sold by Caldor. There is no evidence in the record
concerning Caldor, aside from the fact that it sold the toaster oven at
issue. Specifically, there is no evidence that Caldor modified the
toaster oven or knew it to be defective. I conclude, therefore that
defendant Caldor Corporation, to the extent that it remains a defendant
in this case at all, is entitled to summary judgment.*fn7
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 12th day of April, 2001, upon consideration of the
motions of defendant Black & Decker, Inc., for summary judgment (Document
No. 30) and the response of plaintiffs Jacob J. Booth and Kathleen
Booth, and having reviewed the record in this case pursuant to the
mandates of Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Procedure, including the
testimony of plaintiffs' expert at Daubert hearings on January 4 and 10,
2001, and having concluded, for the reasons set forth in the foregoing
memorandum, that the opinions of plaintiffs' expert concerning defects in
the subject toaster oven and the cause of the fire are not admissible
under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Daubert, and Kumho
Tire, and having concluded
that without the testimony of plaintiffs'
expert, there remains no genuine issue of material fact, and having
concluded that the evidence is equally insufficient as to defendant
Caldor, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of defendant Black & Decker
for summary judgment is GRANTED and that the summary judgment is
GRANTED, sua sponte, as to Caldor.
JUDGMENT is hereby ENTERED in favor of defendants Black & Decker
and the Caldor Corporation, and against plaintiffs Jacob J. Booth
and Kathleen Booth.
This is a final Order.