Satchi v. Rheon U.S.A. et al
Judge William G. Young: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER"Even when read in the manner most favorable to Satchi, the facts in this case make evident that Rheon did not design, manufacture, nor install the conveyor belt that tragically killed Pasupathipillai. Thus, Satchis negligence claims fail on a threshold issue in product liability. See Mathers, 403 Mass. at 691. Further, Rheon never assumed any duty nor extended any warranty over the Piantedosi conveyor belt. The manufacturer of product owes no duty of care to the user of another product. See Carrier, 721 F.2d at 869. Thus, Satchis contractual and warranty claims against Rheon fail as matter of law. As such, all of Satchis alleged bases for claims under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93a are without merit. Accordingly, this Court GRANTS Rheons motion for summary judgement, ECF No. 43 , on all counts.SO ORDERED."(Sonnenberg, Elizabeth)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
THIRU SATCHI, AS ADMINISTRATOR,
OF THE ESTATE OF,
RHEON U.S.A., INC.,
JUNE 12, 2017
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This case concerns the tragic death of Yogambigai
On August 6, 2013,
Pasupathipillai suffered a fatal accident while working at the
Piantedosi bakery in Malden, Massachusetts.
Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No.
Thiru Satchi (“Satchi”), as administrator of
Pasupathipillai’s estate, brings this motion against Rheon,
U.S.A. (“Rheon”), the alleged manufacturer of the equipment that
Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1-1.
Rheon is the American distributor for Rheon Automatic
Machinery, a Japanese manufacturer of commercial food production
Rheon U.S.A.’s Statement Undisputed Material Facts
Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (“Def.’s Statement Facts”) ¶ 8, ECF No. 45.
Satchi alleges Rheon negligently designed bakery equipment used
at the Piantedosi facility, and alleges it is this negligentlydesigned equipment that caused Pasupathipillai’s death. Id.
Consequently, Satchi seeks damages in negligence, breach of
warranty, and breach of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93A,
id. ¶¶ 17, 24, 28, 32, 34.
Rheon denies these allegations and
seeks summary judgement on all counts.
Def., Rheon U.S.A.,
Inc.’s Mem. Law Supp. Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 43.
it was Piantedosi, and not Rheon, that designed the equipment
that killed Pasupathipillai.
Def., Rheon U.S.A. Inc’s, Mem. Law
Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2, ECF No. 44.
Because Rheon did not manufacture the piece of equipment
upon which Pasupathipillai was killed, and did not contractually
assume liability for that equipment, there is no legal basis
upon which Rheon may be held liable for Pasupathipillai’s death.
Accordingly, this Court GRANTS Rheon’s motion for summary
judgement on all counts, for the reasons delineated infra.
The following facts are recited from the record available
to this Court and are read in the light most favorable to Satchi
as the non-moving party.
See Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 56.
A. Accident and Allegations
Pasupathipillai was an employee of the Piantedosi
commercial bakery, located in Malden, Massachusetts.
5-6; Def.’s Statement Facts ¶¶ 1-2.
On August 6, 2013,
Pasupathipillai’s clothing became entangled in a conveyor belt
while she was working at Piantedosi’s facility.
Compl. ¶ 9;
Def.’s Statement Facts, Ex. 3, Dep. Souen Touch (“Touch Dep.”)
59:23-60:9, ECF No 45-4; Def.’s Statement Facts, Ex. 4, Dep.
Oscar Rene Paredes (“Paredes Dep.”) 43:1-11, ECF No. 45-5.
Pasupathipillai’s fellow employees tried to shut off the
conveyor belt and cut her clothing free of the machine.
Dep. 60:24-61:8, 61:9-22; Paredes Dep 43:7-17.
aid, Pasupathipillai sustained substantial injuries,
62:2-10; Parades Dep. 43:18-44:2, and tragically died several
Def.’s Statement Fact, Ex. 6, Report of Autopsy
(“Autopsy”) 3, ECF No 45-7.
Satchi alleges Piantedosi purchased from Rheon the conveyor
system responsible for Pasupathipillai’s death.
Compl. ¶ 14.
Alternatively, Satchi alleges Rheon contractually assumed
liability for the machine in question.
Id. at ¶ 19.
further alleges the conveyor system responsible for
Pasupathipillai’s death lacked essential safety systems and
other guarding mechanisms.
Id. at ¶ 11.
deficiencies, Satchi alleges Rheon was negligent (or
contractually assumed liability for negligence) in the design of
the conveyor system.
at ¶ 17.
alleges Rheon breached implied and express warranties of safety
and fitness for use, id. at ¶¶ 22, 27, 30 and violated Mass.
Gen. Laws c. 93A, id. at ¶ 34.
B. Piantedosi Purchased Some of the “Rheon Line”
In June, 2007, Piantedosi solicited a quote from Rheon
concerning the installation of a “Stress Free Artisan Bread
Def.’s Statement Facts, Ex. 8, June 2007 Proposal For:
“Stress Free Artisan Bread Line” (“June 2007 Proposal”), ECF No.
In August, 2007 Piantedosi opted to purchase some of the
equipment Rheon proposed in the June 2007 quote.
Statement Facts, Ex. 9, August 2007 Proposal For: “Stress Free
Artisan Bread Line” 3 (“August 2007 Contract”), ECF No. 45-9.
This sequence of equipment was often referred to as the “Rheon
Line” or “Rheon’s line.” E.g. Def.’s Statement Facts, Ex. 2,
Dep. Nada Somasundram (“Somasundram Dep.”) 74:9; Pl.’s Mem. Law
Supp. Pl.’s Opp. Def. Rheon’s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 3, August 31,
2007 Fax From T. Horichi (“August 31 Fax”) 3, ECF No. 55-5.
In particular, one element Piantedosi chose not to buy from
Rheon was the “tray feeder with corner slider” (i.e., the
conveyor belt). Somasundram Dep. 132:2-20; Aff. Sinchi Toda
(“Toda Aff.”) ¶ 14, ECF No. 46; Pl.’s Resp. Concise Statement
Material Facts in Dispute Supp. Opp. Def. Rheon’s Mot. Summ. J.
(“Pl.’s Statement Facts”) ¶ 20, ECF No. 70.
meant that two pieces of Rheon equipment, the flour duster and
cornmeal duster, were listed as “options” that would
independently need to be mounted to whatever tray feeder device
Toda Aff. ¶ 14; Pl.’s Statement Facts ¶
The parties signed a contract consummating their agreement.
August 2007 Contract passim.
The contract constituted an
“entire agreement” and extended only to the machines specified
in the August 2007 tender.
Id. at 8.
The August 2007 contract
did not list a conveyor belt, corner slider, or tray feeder
amongst its terms.
The contract included a limited warranty for the goods sold
The contract did not indicate Rheon would assume
liability for any piece of equipment assembled and installed by
(“Both parties acknowledge that installation
of the machine(s) requires special enterprise and consequently
agree that unless seller’s Personnel install equipment and/or
machines purchased from seller, this warranty shall be null and
void, and Seller will in no manner, be liable for defects and/or
damage to goods purchased.”).
Design of the Piantedosi Conveyor Belt
Rather than purchase the Rheon tray feeder, Piantedosi’s
chief engineer, Nada Somasundram (“Somasundram”), designed and
built a conveyor belt in-house.
Somasundram Dep. 132:2-20.
1. Somasundram Designed and Constructed the Conveyor Belt
Somasundram never completed a technical schematic of the
See Somasundram Dep. 132:21-137:14.
rough sketch was sent to Rheon, indicating the length and width
of the conveyor.
Id. at 35:4-17; Toda Aff. ¶ 25.
when designing this particular conveyor belt, Somasundram did
not recall consulting relevant Occupational Health and Safety
Administration (“OSHA”) regulations, Somasundram Dep. 138:11-22,
though he does assert that such a consultation was his usual
practice, id. at 138:5-7.
Mroszczyk and Corliss Reports
Rheon alleges that it had no input into the design,
construction, or installation of Somasundram’s conveyor belt.
Toda Aff. ¶¶ 15, 22, 27.
Satchi disputes that characterization
and asserts the “[c]onveyor was systematically designed and
incorporated as part of the Rheon Line.”
Pl.’s Statement Facts
As support for that assertion Satchi includes expert
reports by safety engineers John M. Corliss (“Corliss”) and John
Aff. John M. Corliss (“Corliss Aff.”),
ECF No. 55-1; Aff. John Mroszcyz (“Mroszcyzk Aff.”), ECF No. 55
Both engineers conclude “[t]he board in-feed conveyor was
part of the Rheon line . . . .”
Corliss Aff. ¶ 8; Mroszcyzk
Aff. ¶ 7; See also Def. Statement Material Facts, Ex. 14-A,
Report John Mroszcyzk (“Mroszcysk Report”), ECF No. 45-15; Def.
Statement Materials Facts, Ex. 14-B, Expert Report John M.
Corliss (“Corliss Report”), ECF No. 45-16.
Satchi argues that Rheon played an integral role in the
design and development of Somasundram’s conveyor belt because
Rheon advised Somasundram of such factors as the proper location
of holes by which to connect the optional flour and cornmeal
dusters, and the optimal rate and height for the conveyor belt.
Pl.’s Mem. Law 5.
Indeed, in several documents, Rheon does
indicate it provided minimal advice or limited specifications to
E.g., August 31 Fax 3; Pl.’s Mem. Law, Ex. 4, Sept.
12 2007 Fax From T. Horiuchi (“Sept. 12 Fax”) 3, ECF No. 55-6;
Pl.’s Mem. Law, Ex. 5, Sept. 19 2007 Fax from H. Kimura (“Sept.
19 Fax”) 3, ECF No. 55-7.
Consequently, in his expert report,
Mroszcysk opined that because Somasundram communicated with
Rheon regarding those factors, the “conveyor [belt] was built by
Piantedosi to Rheon specifications. It interfaced with the Rheon
line and was part of the overall Rheon system.”
D. Installation and Inspection of the “Rheon Line”
Somasundram and his team assembled the conveyor at the
Piantedosi facility. Somasundram Dep. 35:23-36:1, 102:12-24.
Rheon did not participate in the manufacture of the conveyor nor
did Rheon assist in installing that conveyor at Piantedosi’s
bakery. Aff. Masahiro Kameyama (“Kameyama Aff.”) ¶ 4, ECF No.
Installation of the conveyor was accomplished separately
from installation of the Rheon equipment, and occurred
overnight, while the Rheon employees were off-site. Id.
conveyor belt was neither electrically nor physically connected
to any piece of Rheon-installed equipment.
Consequently, the on/off switch for the
Piantedosi conveyor belt had no effect on the Rheon equipment.
Id. at 156:8-22, 221:15-222:10 (“Q. If someone hit the emergency
stop on the Rheon line, that would not stop the subject
Because it was separate
The Rheon equipment purchased in the August 2007 contract
was assembled in Japan prior to shipment to the United States.
Toda Aff. ¶ 23.
Prior to shipment, Rheon representatives
demonstrated the equipment for Piantedosi representatives,
Id.; Def. Mem Law, Ex. 11, Video Taken
During Demonstration of Rheon Line (“Rheon Line Video”), ECF No.
A video of the demonstration plainly demonstrates that
neither conveyor belt nor tray feeder was in use in the Rheon
line exhibited for Piantedosi.
Rheon Line Video.
That is, when
Piantedosi representatives had the “Rheon Line” demonstrated for
them, it was obvious to all witnessing the demonstration that
the Rheon Line did not include a conveyor belt or tray feeder -it was expected that Piantedosi would be manufacturing those
After the Rheon equipment and the conveyor belt were
installed, Rheon employees ran test batches to ensure the Rheon
equipment properly delivered dough through the system.
Aff. ¶¶ 6-7; Toda Aff. ¶ 28; Pl.’s Mem., Exh. 6, Rheon Trip
Report 5/11/2008, ECF No. 55-8 (“Installation went smoothly. And
Test by dammy dough was no ploblem [sic]. And we instructed how
to clean.”); Pl.’s Mem., Exh. 7, Business Trip Report 10/3/2008,
ECF No. 55-9 (Purpose of visit was to assess “baking tests”);
Pl.’s Mem., Exh. 8, Business Trip Report 3/17/2009, ECF No. 5510 (Purpose of trip was “Re instruction & machine check”; focus
of report was on “production” such as “output base speed”).
Rheon’s documents make plain that the tests focused upon the
efficacy of the Rheon machines, i.e., whether the equipment
could deliver dough. E.g. Business Trip Report 10/3/2008 (Refers
to “Baking Tests”).
Indeed, even Piantedosi employees
understood that the purpose of these tests was to assess
efficacy, not safety.
E.g., Somasundram Dep. 187-17-19 (“They
set up the equipment to make sure that’s the equipment we
ordered and that’s what it will do.”).
Satchi alleges that during these tests Rheon had an
opportunity to observe that the conveyor system did not conform
to safety standards and therefore had an affirmative duty to
warn Piantedosi of safety hazards.
Pl.’s Statement Facts ¶¶ 67—
In particular, Satchi cites to the Corliss and Mroszczyk
Both experts allege “Piantedosi did not have to
request a safety inspection or safety engineering analysis for
Rheon to know and advise Piantedosi against use of the conveyor
until a guard was placed over the tail-end given Rheon’s
Corliss Aff. ¶ 5; Mroszczyk Aff. ¶ 5.
alleges that Rheon did not perform such a safety check nor did
it warn Piantedosi of any safety problems inherent to the
Somasundram-designed conveyor belt.
Pl.’s Statement Facts ¶ 69.
Finally, Satchi alleges that a section of Rheon’s user
manual rendered Rheon responsible for conducting an initial
safety check of the entire Rheon Line, including the conveyor
belt. Pl.’s Mem. Law 12.
The section indicates:
[I]nitial compliance in the design of the machinery is
the responsibility of the designer and installer of
the system. In addition to the guards and other
safety devices on the machinery, additional guards,
safety equipment, warning signs, etc. may be necessary
according to the use of the system and its location.
A safety study must be made to determine such possible
additional requirements, and appropriate safety
measures to be taken. As the manufacturer, we insist
on compliance with such safety standards, and will not
knowingly sell or products to those who fail to
Pl.’s Mem. Law, Ex. 9, Rheon-000670 (“Manual Excerpt”), ECF No.
Satchi argues Rheon breached the express warranty
communicated in that manual by selling equipment that was not
OSHA compliant and by not undertaking “the self-mandated safety
Pl.’s Mem. Law 12.
Satchi, as administratior for Pasupathipillai, is a
Compl. ¶ 1; See 28 U.S.C. §
Rheon, U.S.A. is a New Jersey corporation with a
principal place of business in California.
Def., Rheon U.S.A.,
Inc.’s, Answer, Affirm Defenses and Jury Demand (“Answer”) ¶ 2,
ECF No. 7.
Satchi seeks $362,783.15 in damages from Rheon.
Civil Action Cover Sheet, ECF No. 1-1.
Accordingly, this Court
may properly exercise federal diversity jurisdiction in this
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
The parties have not
challenged the personal jurisdiction of this Court.
B. Summary Judgement Standard
Summary judgement is appropriate “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as matter of law.”
Civil Procedure 56(a).
A fact is construed as being material
“if it potentially affects the outcome of the case.”
Forms Mfrs, Inc. v. Karon, 73 F. 2d 139, 140 (1st Cir. 1999).
genuine issue is one which could be “resolved in favor of either
party at trial.”
Iverson v. City of Boston, 452 F.3d 94, 98
(1st Cir. 2006).
The moving party must cite to specific points on the record
supporting the contention that there is no material factual
Fed R. Civ P. 56(b).
When assessing the relevant
facts, the court views the record in the manner most favorable
to the non-moving party and may draw reasonable inferences in
that party’s favor.
Lohnes v. Level 3 Communs., Inc., 272 F.3d,
49, 50 (1st Cir. 2001); Noonan v. Staples, Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 25
(1st Cir. 2009).
In order to defeat a motion for summary judgement, the nonmoving party “must establish the existence of a factual
controversy that is both genuine and material.”
F.3d at 52.
To do so, the non-moving party must reference
specific facts on the record which support the contention that
there is a material factual dispute.
Id.; Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).
A mere denial of the
moving party’s pleading or a rote re-iteration of the complaint
is insufficient to meet that burden.
Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v.
Municipality of Ponce, 904 F.2d 740, 742-3 (1st Cir. 1990).
Instead, the non-moving party must “present affirmative
evidence” in support of its argument.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at
C. Massachusetts Product Liability Law
In both product liability and warranty liability actions, a
fundamental pre-requisite to a successful claim is that a
plaintiff must demonstrate she was injured by a product produced
by the particular defendant she seeks to hold liable. Mathers v.
Midland-Ross Co., 403 Mass. 688, 691 (1989) (Abrams, J.) (“A
plaintiff who sues a particular manufacturer for product
liability generally must be able to prove that the item which it
is claimed caused the injury can be traced to that specific
manufacturer.”); Al-Yaseri v. TMB Baking, 166 F. Supp. 3d. 118,
122 (2016) (Saylor, J.).
If a plaintiff fails to prove she was
injured by a product produced by the particular defendant she
seeks to hold liable, such a failure is preclusive to the
Al-Yaseri, 166 F. Supp. 3d at 123.
Massachusetts law holds that “[a] manufacturer of a product
has a duty to warn foreseeable users of dangers in the use of
that product of which he knows or should have known.”
v. Sky Climber, Inc., 369 Mass. 629, 631 (1986).
however, does not extend to products created by other
Id.; Carrier v. Riddell, Inc. 721 F.2d 867, 869
(1st Cir., 1983)
(“[W]e have researched Massachusetts law and
can find no case imposing liability upon a manufacturer (for
failure to warn) in favor of one who uses the product of a
different manufacturer.”) (emphasis in original).
In a case
analogous to the present controversy, Murray v. Goodrich
Engineering Corp., 30 Mass. App. Ct. 918 (1991), an industrial
accident occurred on a machine comprised of integrated
components made by various manufacturers.
The plaintiff alleged
that Goodrich, as alleged “designer” of the overall system, owed
a duty to the plaintiff to ensure to entire system was
The Court held, however, that Goodrich, as the
supplier only of some components of the system, was not the
designer of the overall system, and only designed its individual
components in the overall machine.
Hence, Goodrich could not be
held liable for accidents occurring on components that it did
Id. at 920.
Finally, Massachusetts law does not create an affirmative
duty to warn of risk of harm.
Smith v. Robertshaw Controls Co.,
410 F.3d 29, 38 (1st Cir. 2005).
Where one does voluntarily
assume a duty, one must perform that duty with due care.
Davis v. Westwood Group, 420 Mass. 739, 746 (1995) (“It is an
established principle that a duty voluntarily assumed must be
discharged with care.”). Moreover, assumption of one duty does
not necessary infer assumption of ancillary or related duties.
That is, a voluntarily assumed duty must be unambiguously
assumed by the care giver.
Robertshaw, 410 F.3d at 38 (“Put
simply, a service call to fix a gas leak in the backyard does
not, without more, create a duty to inspect a water heater.”).
D. Rheon Did Not Design Nor Manufacture the Piantedosi
Somasundram’s deposition testimony elucidates the exclusive
control he maintained over the design and construction of the
conveyor belt upon which Pasupathipillai was killed.
Somasundram created the blueprints (however rudimentary) of the
Somasundram Dep. 132:21-137:14; Toda Aff. ¶ 25.
employees built the machine, id. at 35:24-36:1, 102:10-24,
installed the conveyor belt without any assistance from Rheon,
Kameya Aff. ¶ 4.
Rheon’s involvement with the creation of the
conveyor belt then appears to be de minimus.
Indeed, even at
the demonstration of the Rheon equipment, the conveyor belt was
pantomimed by Rheon employees because the conveyor belt was not
a Rheon machine.
Rheon Line Video.
Mroszycsk makes much of the fact that Rheon advised
Somasundram of the ideal height and rate for the conveyor belt
and the optimal places in which to bore holes for the flour and
Mroszycsk Report 4.
Yet, Mroszycsk fails to
explain why such seemingly unctuous involvement renders Rheon
the manufacturer of the entire conveyor belt.
report reads as an ipse dixit exercise in expert witness
advocacy that is long on conclusions and short on logic.
Accordingly, this Court can give no weight to Mroszycsk’s
report, as the report is conclusory in nature, founded on little
evidence, and reaches implausible conclusions that are actually
contradicted by much of the rest of the evidence on the record.
Mroszycsk’s report, then, consists of the sort of unsupported
speculation and mere conjecture that is to be disregarded at the
summary judgement stage.
See In re Nexium Esomeprazole Anitrust
Litig., 42 F. Supp. 3d 231, 272 (D. Mass. 2014).
Satchi does cite to several Rheon documents that indicate
Rheon was aware that Piantedosi was manufacturing its own
conveyor belt, and that Rheon was providing limited technical
assistance of the sort already described.
Sept. 12 Fax 3; Sept. 19 Fax 3.
August 31 Fax 3;
Reading those limited documents
in the light most favorable to Satchi fails to overcome the
impression given by Somusandram’s deposition that he designed,
built, and installed the conveyor belt.
The documents cited by
Satchi, then, do not stand for the proposition that Rheon was
the designer of the conveyor belt in question. At best, Rheon
provided limited technical assistance on very minor questions.
Certainly, based on the record provided, Rheon had no
involvement in the design of the safety features of the conveyor
The safety features were designed by Somusandram, perhaps
without the consultation of relevant OSHA standards.
Somasundram Dep. 138:11-22.
Reading the remaining evidence in the light most favorable
to Satchi, it seems implausible Rheon’s providing minor
technical advice somehow renders Rheon the producer of a machine
whose schematics were drawn by Piantedosi, that was built by
Piantedosi, and which was installed by Piantedosi.
then, no genuine dispute as to the identity of the sole
manufacturer of the conveyor belt that killed Pasupathipillai.
It was a Piantedosi conveyor belt, not a Rheon conveyor belt.
The facts of record no genuine dispute as to this point.
Iverson, 452 F.3d at 98.
Since it was a Piantedosi-manufactured machine that killed
Pasupathipillai, Satchi has failed to demonstrate a fundamental
element of his negligence and warranty claims against Rheon.
See Mathers, 403 Mass. at 691.
Accordingly, those claims fail
as matter of law.
E. The August 2007 Contract Does Not Include the Piantedosi
The August 2007 contract between Rheon and Piantedosi does
not list a conveyor belt to be manufactured by Piantedosi.
August 2007 Contract passim.
The contract is a complete
agreement, thus meaning those goods not listed amongst its terms
are not included in the warranty described.
Id. at 8.
Therefore, because the Piantedosi conveyor belt was not included
in the August 2007 complete agreement, no Rheon warranty
attached to the device.
Contrary to Satchi’s allegation,
Compl. ¶ 19, Rheon did not contractually assume liability for
the Piantedosi conveyor belt.
All of Satchi’s claims based on
such alleged contractual liability or other warranty fail as
matter of law.
F. Rheon Was Under No Obligation to Assess the Piantedosi
It is undisputed that Rheon did not conduct a safety test
of the Piantedosi conveyor belt.
Rheon was not required to do
Yet both Corliss and Mroszczyk assert Rheon was under an
affirmative duty to advise Piantedosi of its safety obligations.
Corliss Aff. ¶ 5; Mroszczyk ¶ 5.
Corliss suggests the source of
this obligation was Rheon’s expertise regarding occupational
health and safety, and the opportunities Rheon had to warn
Piantedosi given the checks Rheon made of the Rheon Line.
Corliss Report 13.
Corliss’ conclusion is contradicted by law.
law imposes only a limited affirmative duty to warn.
Robertshaw, 410 F.3d at 38. Manufacturers are obligated to warn
of dangers inherent to their own products. Carrier 721 F.2d at
Yet, in the instant case, Rheon was never under any
affirmative duty to warn given the fact that the conveyor belt
was not a Rheon product.
See Id.; Goodrich, 30 Mass. App. Ct.
Corliss’ opinion elides that fact.
Rheon had a duty to warn only if it had voluntarily
undertaken such a duty.
See Davis, 420 Mass. at 746.
one duty, however, does not open the floodgates to taking on all
Robertshaw, 410 F.3d at 38. (“Put simply, a service
call to fix a gas leak in the backyard does not, without more,
create a duty to inspect a water heater.”).
checks of the Rheon Line.
Rheon did perform
Rheon Trip Report 5/11/2008; Business
Trip Report 10/3/2008; Business Trip Report 3/17/2008.
checks were not safety checks -- they were efficacy checks to
make sure the Rheon line delivered dough.
See Somasundram Dep.
To paraphrase the First Circuit: Put simply, a
baking check, does not, without more, create a duty to inspect
Rheon’s efficacy checks did not voluntarily place Rheon
under a duty to check the safety of Piantedosi’s conveyor belt.
Corliss’ ipse dixit report does not change the law on this
Finally, Satchi alleges Rheon’s user manual created an
Pl.’s Mem. Law 12.
That manual indicates
“initial compliance in the design of the machinery is the
responsibility of the designer and installer of the system.”
Rheon, however, was not the “designer and
installer” of the Piantedosi conveyor belt, thus negating the
relevance of Rheon’s manual to the conveyor belt.
Accordingly, the record before this Court, even read in the
record most favorable to Satchi, fails to demonstrate Rheon owed
Piantedosi an obligation to perform a safety check of the
Piantedosi conveyor belt.
On the record before this Court it is
plain that there is no legal basis by which Rheon could owe such
a duty because Rheon did not design the conveyor belt nor did it
ever assume such a duty voluntarily.
Satchi’s claims pertaining
to breach of duty fail as matter of law.
G. Rheon Did Not Violate Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 93A
Satchi alleges that due to alleged negligence, breached
warranties, and failure to check the Piantedosi conveyor belt,
Rheon engaged in unfair business practices, contravening
Massachusetts General Law Ch. 93A.
Pl.’s Mem. 13.
noted in the discussion supra, this Court rules there were no
grounds upon which to base a negligence claim against Rheon with
regard to the Piantedosi conveyor because Rheon neither
designed, manufactured, nor installed that conveyor.
not warranty or guarantee the Piantedosi conveyor, and the
contract between Rheon and Piantedosi did not extend Rheon’s
liability to include the Piantedosi conveyor belt.
Rheon had no obligation to perform a safety check of the
Piantedosi conveyor belt and never assumed an affirmative duty
to perform such a check.
Simply stated, then, all of the
theories by which Satchi seeks to saddle Rheon with chapter 93A
liability fail because Rheon did not manufacture the conveyor
belt in question, nor did Rheon ever assume any responsibility
for that conveyor belt.
Satchi’s Chapter 93A claims fail as
matter of law.
Conclusion and Order
Even when read in the manner most favorable to Satchi, the
facts in this case make evident that Rheon did not design,
manufacture, nor install the conveyor belt that tragically
Thus, Satchi’s negligence claims fail
on a threshold issue in product liability.
Mass. at 691.
See Mathers, 403
Further, Rheon never assumed any duty nor
extended any warranty over the Piantedosi conveyor belt.
manufacturer of product owes no duty of care to the user of
See Carrier, 721 F.2d at 869. Thus, Satchi’s
contractual and warranty claims against Rheon fail as matter of
As such, all of Satchi’s alleged bases for claims under
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93a are without merit.
Court GRANTS Rheon’s motion for summary judgement, ECF No. 43,
on all counts.
/s/ William G. Young
WILLIAM G. YOUNG
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