Product Liability Claims Dismissed

May 20, 2008

London Fischer LLP congratulates Anthony F. Tagliagambe and Brian A. Kalman on their victory in the case of Heimbuch v. Grumman- Olsen, in which the Appellate Division, Second Department unanimously reversed the trial court decision and dismissed with prejudice the remaining product liability claims against the defendants.

Plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant back and neck injuries when she raised the hood of her employer’s truck to perform an engine inspection. Plaintiff claimed that Grumman-Olsen defectively designed and manufactured the hood assembly because it was unreasonably difficult to lift. Plaintiff’s expert argued that the pneumatic lifting device was improperly situated in the hood assembly and did not sufficiently ease a user’s ability to raise the hood. Plaintiff also alleged that the Grumman-Olsen never manufactured the subject hood assembly with the pneumatic device because it was not present on the truck on the date of the accident.

Attorneys Anthony F. Tagliagambe and Brian A. Kalman filed a motion for summary judgment in Supreme Court, Nassau County. The trial court granted defendants’ motion to the extent of dismissing plaintiff’s defective manufacturing and breach of warranty claims but did not dismiss the defective design claims and failure to warn claims. All parties appealed from the trial court decision.

The Appellate Division embraced our arguments regarding the need to dismiss the design defect claims and specifically held that:

. . .indeed, the plaintiff’s counsel acknowledged at oral argument of the appeal that the gas assist device was not on the truck at the time of the accident. Under the circumstances, any alleged defect in the design of the gas assist device was not a proximate cause of the injured plaintiff’s injuries.

The Appellate Division also embraced our arguments plaintiff’s failure to warn claim should be dismissed because plaintiff “was aware that the gas assist device was missing. Thus, any warning which the defendants could have issued would been ‘superfluous’ given the injured plaintiff’s ‘actual knowledge of the specific hazard that caused the injury.’

London Fischer LLP applauds the efforts of Mr. Tagliagambe and Mr. Kalman on behalf of our client.