Anderson et al. v. Raymond Corporation
ORDER DENYING 79 Motion for Summary Judgment. The punitive damages claim will be addressed by the Court in a separate order on Defendant's 80 Partial Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Stephen P. McGlynn on 9/7/2021. (anb2)
Case 3:19-cv-00800-SPM Document 151 Filed 09/07/21 Page 1 of 4 Page ID #10551
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ADELAIDA ANDERSON and JEFF
Case No. 3:19-CV-00800-SPM
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
McGLYNN, District Judge:
This matter comes before the Court for consideration of Defendant’s Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 79) to which Plaintiffs responded (Doc. 111). Counsel for
both Plaintiffs and Defendant also participated in oral arguments related to this
submission on May 20, 2021. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the
Plaintiffs Adelaida Anderson and Jeff Anderson are seeking damages from
Defendant Raymond Corporation in connection with an accident that occurred on July
29, 2017. While operating a Raymond Model 4250 standup forklift, Plaintiff Adelaida
Anderson’s leg was trapped and tragically severed. Defendant Raymond Corporation
has filed this Motion in an effort to eliminate some or all of Plaintiffs’ claims.
APPLICABLE LAW AND LEGAL STANDARDS
Motions for summary judgment are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
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56. “Summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, discovery materials, disclosures,
and affidavits demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact such that [Defendants
are] entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Wragg v. Village of Thornton, 604 F.3d
464, 467 (7th Cir. 2010); FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c).
Lack of Reliable Expert Testimony to Support Defect Allegations
Defendant’s Motion begins by asking this Court to grant summary judgment on
all of Plaintiffs’ claims due to a lack of reliable expert testimony (Doc. 79). Defendant
provides a well-researched and compelling case for a grant of summary judgment in
products liability cases which lack reliable expert testimony. This does not apply to
the present matter.
Defendant relies on the exclusion of several Plaintiff experts to justify its
request for summary judgment. This Court has previously evaluated and ruled on
Defendant’s various motions to exclude expert testimony in its July 27, 2021 Order
(Doc. 127). In that Order, this Court ruled that all of Plaintiffs’ experts will be allowed
to testify; however, Dr. Meyer will not be allowed to offer his opinion that “Raymond
was negligent or that its forklift is dangerously and defectively designed because it
does not come standard with a compartment door, especially one that locks or latches
. . .” (Doc. 127). Even with that specific testimony excluded, Plaintiffs still meet the
expert testimony burden Defendant lays out in its Motion for Summary Judgment.
Defendant’s first issue on summary judgment relies entirely on its success in
excluding the testimonies of Drs. Meyer and Kerrigan. Because both of these experts
will be allowed to present their opinions to the jury, Defendant’s first request for
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summary judgment is DENIED. 1
Consumer-Expectation Claim as a Matter of Law
Defendants additionally seek summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ “consumer-
expectation claim (Count Two)” (Doc. 79). Defendant correctly states that “[u]nder the
consumer-expectation test, a plaintiff must establish what an ordinary consumer
purchasing the product would expect about the product and its safety.” Calles v.
Scripto-Tokai Corp., 224 Ill. 2d 247, 864 N.E.2d 249 (2007). However, Defendant
claims that Adelaida Anderson’s experience and training should set the standard for
what constitutes an “ordinary consumer.” This is incorrect. The standard is “an
objective standard based on the average, normal, or ordinary expectations of the
reasonable person; it is not dependent upon the subjective expectation of a particular
consumer or user.” Calles, 864 N.E.2d at 249 (emphasis added). The standard does not
evaluate based on the expectations of a trained forklift operator, but that of a
reasonable consumer. Plaintiffs have demonstrated that purchasing a Raymond 4250
forklift is not limited to a specific class of consumer (Doc. 111), and therefore the
“ordinary consumer” is not limited to a trained forklift operator.
Additionally, Plaintiffs have provided sufficient evidence to survive summary
judgment on this claim. They state that their experts can provide opinions related to
whether or not Raymond’s forklift was more dangerous than the ordinary user might
expect (Doc. 111). This disagreement between the parties is precisely the type of
Defendant also requested that this Court grant summary judgment as to any defect theories Drs.
Meyer and Kerrigan are precluded from offering. This Court has limited Dr. Meyer’s testimony, but it
will not grant summary judgment related to any basic defect opinions. The limit on Dr. Meyer’s
testimony is sufficient.
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factual dispute best resolved by a jury as opposed to a judge.
Regardless of what constitutes a reasonable consumer, the undisputed facts in
this matter are insufficient to lead this Court to only one conclusion. As such, whether
or not the Raymond 4250 forklift is more dangerous than an ordinary consumer might
expect is a question for the jury not the Court. Defendant’s second request for
summary judgment is DENIED.
Punitive Damages Claim
This line of argument will be addressed by the Court in a separate order on
Defendant’s Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 80).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion for
Summary Judgment with respect to Sections I and II. The Court does not reach a
decision on Section III and will render a future opinion related to Defendant’s Partial
Motion for Summary Judgment on the subject of punitive damages.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
September 7, 2021
s/ Stephen P. McGlynn
STEPHEN P. McGLYNN
U.S. District Judge
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