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Troja v. Black & Decker Manufacturing Co.

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
488 A.2d 516 (1985)


Facts

Robert Krohn hired Michael Troja (plaintiff) to build a bar. Troja borrowed Krohn’s radial arm saw manufactured by Black & Decker Manufacturing Company (Black & Decker) (defendant). Troja and Krohn removed the saw from its metal base and stand in order that it could be carried from the basement to the work site. The saw’s guide fence and metal base were left behind. Without its base, Troja placed the saw directly on the floor and rigged a makeshift guide fence by securing an aluminum level to the saw with clamps. Troja was attempting to make a cross-cut, guiding the wood with his hand, when the saw slipped and amputated Troja’s finger. The instruction manual accompanying the saw properly explained how to execute a cross-cut. Troja brought suit against Black & Decker for strict products liability. At trial, Troja presented an expert who would have testified that an alternative to Black & Decker’s saw could have been manufactured so that the unit would not work if the guide fence was not in place. The trial court refused to allow the expert’s testimony and ruled that Troja had failed to produce any legally sufficient evidence of an alternative radial arm saw design or the existence of the technology necessary to produce such a product in 1976, the year that the saw was made. The trial judge granted Black & Decker’s motion for a directed verdict on the defective design portion of Troja’s strict liability count and Troja appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, C.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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