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Bruther v. General Electric Co.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
818 F. Supp. 1238 (S.D. Ind. 1993)


Facts

Woody Bruther (plaintiff) was electrocuted at his workplace at Rexnord, Inc. (Rexnord) when a light bulb shattered while he was replacing it. Bruther filed a products-liability suit against General Electric Company (GE) (defendant), the alleged manufacturer of the light bulb. Bruther sought to introduce the shattered light bulb into evidence. GE argued that Bruther was unable to authenticate the light bulb as required by Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 901. GE pointed out that the light bulb had not been recovered and safeguarded by anyone at Rexnord immediately after Bruther’s injury. Instead, Don Riley, another Rexnord employee, later found a broken light bulb in a cabinet near where the injury occurred. Riley testified at his deposition that he thought the light bulb was the one in question because Rexnord would not generally save a broken light bulb. Only six Rexnord employees had access to the area where the broken light bulb was found. Bruther filed an affidavit stating that he had recently installed GE light bulbs elsewhere at Rexnord. GE filed a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Barker, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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