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David A. Robinson and Regina Louise Robinson v. Delta International Machinery Corporation

March 15, 2011

DAVID A. ROBINSON AND REGINA LOUISE ROBINSON
v.
DELTA INTERNATIONAL MACHINERY CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'neill, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff David Robinson suffered a severe hand injury while operating a table saw manufactured by defendant Delta International Machinery Corporation. His four count complaint alleges claims of: (1) strict liability; (2) negligence; (3) breach of warranty and (4) loss of consortium.*fn1 Presently before me are defendant's motion to preclude plaintiff's expert witness, Richard A. Colberg, from an offering an expert opinion with respect to certain issues of fact and defendant's motion for summary judgment. Both motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition. Because I find that even with the benefit of the expert testimony in question plaintiffs are unable to show that defendant's actions were the proximate cause of their respective injuries, I need not decide whether the testimony proffered by plaintiff's expert is admissible.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has been employed in the woodworking industry for more than thirty years. On May 3, 2007, the date he suffered the injury giving rise to this lawsuit, he was the foreman of the mill shop at CBM construction. That day, he was building an adjustable fence*fn2 for the wood shaper in the CBM mill shop. In order to cut a shallow groove in a piece of red oak wood, he installed a dado blade*fn3 onto a table saw*fn4 manufactured by defendant. To perform a dado cut, plaintiff first had to remove the safety guard and splitter assembly, which ordinarily protected the user against inadvertent contact with the rotating saw blade. In the process of making the dado cut, the wood jammed against the saw blade and "kicked back" at plaintiff. The kickback drew plaintiff's left hand across the dado blade, nearly severing his index and middle fingers.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment will be granted "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. If the movant sustains its burden, the non-movant must set forth facts demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."

Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the case under governing law. Id.

To establish "that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed," a party must:

(A) cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or

(B) show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). The adverse party must raise "more than a mere scintilla of evidence in its favor" in order to overcome a summary judgment motion and cannot survive by relying on unsupported assertions, conclusory allegations, or mere suspicions. Williams v. Borough of W. Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989). The "existence of disputed issues of material fact should be ascertained by resolving all inferences, doubts and issues of credibility against" the movant. Ely v. Hall's Motor Transit Co., 590 F.2d 62, 66 (3d Cir. 1978) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues that defendant is liable for his injuries because it neither included adequate warnings with the table saw nor conducted an appropriate safety ...


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