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Marco Crane & Rigging Co. v. Greenfield Productions LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 9, 2019

Marco Crane & Rigging Company, Plaintiff,
v.
Greenfield Productions LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          G. MURRAY SNOW CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are (1) Plaintiff Marco Crane & Rigging Co.'s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 94); (2) Defendants' Greenfield Products LLC (“Defendant Greenfield”) and Mi-Jack Products, Inc. (“Defendant Mi-Jack”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 95); and (3) Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 98). For the following reasons, the Court denies both Plaintiff's and Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, and grants Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff provides rigging services to customers throughout Arizona and Southern California. Defendant Greenfield manufactures, distributes, and sells boom dollies and other related products. This action arises out of a crane accident that occurred while the Plaintiff's crane was attached to a boom dolly manufactured and sold to Plaintiff by Defendant Greenfield.

         Plaintiff purchased a boom dolly from Defendant Greenfield in October 2014 for use with a specific crane. Upon receipt of the boom dolly, Plaintiff was unable to put the product to its intended use. Plaintiff claims the boom dolly had “improper tower lug placement and tracking issues, which prevented [Plaintiff] from using the” boom dolly with the intended crane. (Doc. 93 at 3.) Plaintiff asserts that the alleged defects rendered the boom dolly unstable and unsafe to operate on roadways.

         Plaintiff notified Defendant Greenfield of the lug placement issue in January 2015. An employee of Defendant Mi-Jack[2] provided Plaintiff with instructions to resolve the issue. Plaintiff was able to modify the boom dolly in accordance with the instructions to resolve the improper lug placement. Plaintiff, however, further asserts that the boom dolly continued to experience tracking issues even after the lug placement was resolved. The tracking issues caused the boom dolly to “sway considerably during transport, at normal highway speed limits.” (Doc. 93 at 5.)

         Plaintiff reported the tracking issues to Defendant Greenfield in April 2015. Defendant Greenfield modified the boom dolly. After Defendant Greenfield's modifications, Plaintiff began using the boom dolly in its operations until the boom dolly was involved in an accident in December 2016. Plaintiff claims the accident was a result of the defectively designed boom dolly.

         Plaintiff brought this action in June 2017 alleging Strict Products Liability, Negligence, and Breach of Warranties. Plaintiff now moves for Partial Summary Judgment on its claim for Strict Liability with respect to the pre-accident repair costs it incurred. Defendant concurrently moves for Partial Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's alleged damages for post-accident repairs and cleanup. Lastly, Plaintiff moves for sanctions to be awarded for Defendants' failure to participate in good faith in a court ordered settlement conference.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motions for Partial Summary Judgment

         The purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows “that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit will preclude the entry of summary judgment, and the disputed evidence must be “such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Parties opposing summary judgment are required to “cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record” establishing a genuine dispute or “show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. If the evidence is merely colorable or if not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted).

         a. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

         Plaintiff moves for a very limited partial summary judgment as to its strict liability claim. In bringing this action, Plaintiff pled that Defendant should be held strictly liable for the damage that resulted when the boom dolly malfunctioned and caused Plaintiff's crane to turn over. Plaintiff, however, concedes in its motion that the cause of the accident is a disputed issue of material fact. Thus, Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on its strict products liability claim only with respect to unspecified costs it ...


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