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Richetta v. Stanley Fastening Systems, L.P.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
661 F.Supp.2d 500 (2009)
Construction worker Bruce Richetta set his pneumatic nail gun on top of a six-foot ladder and left the worksite to get more tools without disconnecting the air compressor. The nail gun fell off the ladder when Richetta returned and hit him, discharging a nail into his chest. Richetta and his wife Melissa (together, plaintiffs) brought a product-liability lawsuit against manufacturer Stanley Fastening Systems, L.P. (defendant), claiming the gun was defectively designed because it did not have a safety switch or trigger lock. Although the nail gun fired only if the user simultaneously pulled the trigger and touched the contact-trip to a surface, the Richettas claimed something must have hit the trigger as the nail gun fell. Stanley moved for summary judgment as to strict product liability on three grounds. First, Stanley argued that state law extended strict liability only to intended users of a product, and that Richetta was not using the gun as intended. Second, Stanley’s expert opined that the instructions and warnings advising users to disconnect the gun from the compressor when not in use rendered its design reasonably safe. Third, Stanley argued that Richetta’s failure to disconnect the compressor, not the design of the nail gun, caused his injury.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Golden, J.)
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