DeJesus v. Bertsch, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
898 F. Supp. 2d 353 (2012)
Edwin DeJesus and his wife, Maria Cartagena (plaintiffs) sued Bertsch, Inc., and its successor, Park Corporation (defendants) after DeJesus was injured by a machine Bertsch had manufactured 50 years earlier. Bertsch was family owned until a parent company bought most of its shares. Bertsch-family descendants kept a minority interest and continued working for Bertsch after the acquisition. When Park acquired Bertsch, the companies liquidated Bertsch through a bankruptcy-protection plan. Bertsch ceased operations when the bankruptcy became final, and Park bought all Bertsch’s assets under an asset-purchase agreement. No ownership interests or stock changed hands, and no Bertsch officer or directors moved to Park. Two living Bertsch-family shareholders became Park employees, and the third left the business. Bertsch continued holding itself out as Bertsch, manufactured the same products, and used the same processes but called Bertsch “a division of Park Corporation.” The purchase agreement said Park was not assuming any of Bertsch’s liabilities, but Park assumed those necessary to continue business, including backlogged purchase orders and renewed distributor and vendor contracts. Park requested summary judgment, arguing it was not liable as a successor for its predecessor’s torts.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Young, J.)
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