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Middlesex County

The female plaintiff cafeteria chef contended that the gauge on the industrial steam cooker manufactured by the defendant, which measured the pressure of the cooker, was defectively designed in that it incorporated a stop which would prevent the gauge from descending below "1" even if there was no pressure present, allegedly rendering it difficult for workers to determine if the cooker was, in fact, under pressure. The plaintiff also contended that the manual release would not adequately vent the pressure.

The plaintiff maintained that if the cooker was under pressure, the door would be very difficult to open and that as a result of the alleged defect, the plaintiff sustained a herniated lumbar disc when she used great force in an attempt to open the door after manually releasing the valve. The defendant manufacturer contended that the cooker was properly designed and manufactured.

The defendant manufacturer also contended that a strainer which would prevent food from clogging the drain of the device had been removed and maintained that this factor resulted in the build-up of pressure. The defendant further contended that the door mechanism, which entailed a knob and pin, had been modified, rendering the door more difficult to open. The plaintiff was employed by an independent company which had contracted with the owner to provide cafeteria services for the owner’s workers. The plaintiff also named the owner as a defendant, contending that it provided faulty equipment for the workers, and this aspect settled prior to trial for $________. The plaintiff maintained that the herniated disc required surgery and that despite the procedure, she will permanently suffer significant pain and weakness. The jury found for the defendant. The plaintiff also named a service contractor as a defendant, contending that it had improperly repaired the cooker. This defendant maintained that there was no proof that it had serviced, or repaired this cooker rather than another one of an identical model number which was on the premises and the Court granted this defendant’s motion for dismissal. The jury found for the defendant manufacturer. Parillo vs. Wearever Corp., et al. Docket no. L046400-87; Judge Norris Harding, 7-5-90. Attorney for plaintiff: David Wheaton; Attorney for defendant manufacturer: Joseph Zavesky; Attorney for defendant maintenance company (dismissed ): David Hardaker.

Plaintiff’s expert engineer: Jerald Barnes. Plaintiff’s orthopedist: Stephen Cook from Jersey City. Defendant’s orthopedist: Edward Rachlin from Watchung. Defendant’s expert engineer: Seymour Bodner from Livingston.

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