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ARTICLE ID 26629

- PRODUCTS LIABILITY - ALLEGED DEFECTIVE DESIGN AND IMPROPER ASSEMBLY OF SNOW BLOWER - DEAD- MAN'S CLUTCH FAILS TO ENGAGE - LIABILITY ONLY.

Nassau County

The plaintiff contended that the snow-blower manufactured by the initial defendant was defectively designed because the linkage wire controlling the the dead-man’s clutch was excessively thin and flexible, enabling it to become hung up on a hub protruding from the rear of the machine, preventing the interlock from automatically turning off the blade. The plaintiff also contended that the co-defendant sales and maintenance company that assembled the machine, improperly placed the wire in a manner that was reverse from the manufacture’s instructions, contributing to the incident. The defendant manufacturer contended that the wire was appropriate and met all standards.

The defendant sales company contended that the reverse nature of the assembly would only result in the part extending an additional 1/8 inch and maintained that such a distance could not result in the linkage becoming caught on the hub. The defendants also maintained that the incident could not occur in the manner advanced by the plaintiff and established that it was not hung up in this fashion when examined by the plaintiff’s expert several months later. The defendants further contended that the sole proximate cause of the incident was the actions of the plaintiff in inserting his hand in the discharge chute without taking the simple step of turning the key to deactivate the snow-blower. The jury found for the defendants. Potash vs. Ariens Co. and Albert Bros. Co. Index no. ________/88; Judge Ralph Yachnin, 4-23-92.

Attorney for defendant manufacturer: Francis B. Mann; Attorney for defendant sales and maintenance company: Michael A. Dantuono of William Crotuier in Garden City. Defendant’s expert: Gerald Johnson in-house engineer from Brillion, Ws.

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