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).
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.
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] ...