Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


March 22, 1993


The opinion of the court was delivered by: McDADE, District Judge.


The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons which follow, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. [Doc. # 39-1]. Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.*fn1 [Doc. # 50-1].


On April 24, 1989, Plaintiff filed a two count Complaint alleging that Defendant is liable to him under theories of strict liability and negligence for injury to his hand resulting from the defective design of a "door hinging machine," and for failure to warn him that the product, as designed, was unreasonably dangerous when used without a safety shield.*fn2 The Court has diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).

A.  Summary Judgment

Federal Rule 56(c) Summary Judgment is appropriate when there remains no genuine issue of material fact upon which a reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Although the moving party on a motion for summary judgment is responsible for demonstrating to the Court why there is no genuine issue of material fact, the non-moving party must go beyond the face of the pleadings, affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, to show that a rational jury could return a verdict in this party's favor. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-27, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552-55, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254-55, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2513-14, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355-56, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). The Court must view all inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48, 106 S.Ct. at 2509-10. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). Disputed facts are material when they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). A metaphysical doubt will not suffice. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. at 1355.

B.  Undisputed Facts
1.  The Machine

The machine was designed and manufactured by Defendant, Julius Blum Incorporated, and shipped to Sunnyland on December 8, 1986. When shipped, the safety shield covering the drill was in place.

The machine performs two functions: it drills holes in a door and inserts a hinge or other mounting hardware. The machine is operated by a control panel which activates the drilling and insertion unit. An operator places the woodstock/door on a working table, which is built on top of the frame. A ruler runs perpendicular to the frame. Stops are positioned on the ruler so that the woodstock can be positioned uniformly for each task.

"The user must position the woodstock underneath the drilling unit and properly align it against the stops positioned on the ruler." Pneumatic hold-down clamps (air clamps) are located on both sides of the frame and are designed to secure the woodstock underneath the drilling unit. To the left of the machine is a "swing arm" and an "insertion ram," designed to mount the hinges into the woodstock.

A clear, plexiglass, safety shield "covers" the drilling unit's router blades. The shield is designed to keep the user's hands out of the drilling area and act as a deterrent to flying wood chips. At the time of the accident, the guard on the machine was longer than the drill bits, so that when an operator put his hand on the bottom of the shield, he would not be able to feel the drill points. The guard (and thus the drill unit) is not flush with the front of the machine, but rather is "recessed in" the machine "about 1/4 inch." Although the guard is "clear," Plaintiff admits that it can be seen — although there is some inconsistency on this point.

To use the machine as it was designed, an operator turns the power on and presses a yellow button on the control panel to activate the drilling unit. The drill then moves down toward the woodstock to make holes for the hinge. Once the holes have been drilled into the woodstock, the user is ready to apply hinges. To apply hinges, the operator mounts the insertion ram onto the swing arm and then positions the swing arm horizontally over the drilled holes in the woodstock. To insert the hinge, the swing arm must be rotated down [beneath the drill unit with the drill bits turning above] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.