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Fassett v. Sears Holdings Corp.

319 F.R.D. 143 (2017)

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Fassett v. Sears Holdings Corp.

United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

319 F.R.D. 143 (2017)

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Facts

Daniel Fassett (plaintiff) heard sputtering sounds coming from his lawnmower. When Fassett attempted to relieve pressure in the mower’s fuel tank by loosening the cap, gasoline sprayed from the machine onto his body, igniting in flames. Fassett sustained serious injuries. Fassett then brought a products-liability suit against Sears Holding Corp. (defendant), the manufacturer of the lawnmower. During the course of litigation, Fassett and Sears argued over the extent to which material about alternative fuel-cap designs and distinct lawnmower layouts could be discoverable. Sears argued that the only type of gas-cap design Fassett could discover information about was the design used on Fassett’s lawnmower. An expert witness testified that other cap designs could have been functional It was also found that the alternative caps could be easily interchangeable with the injury-causing cap. Additionally, it was found that that the alternative cap designs could be safety tested using the same procedures as were used for the injury-causing cap. The issue was brought before federal court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brann, J.)

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