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Gaddy v. Terex Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

May 11, 2017

JEFFREY GADDY, Plaintiff,
v.
TEREX CORPORATION, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Atlas ABC Corporation's (“Atlas”) Motion for Summary Judgment [295]. Also before the Court are Defendants Terex Corporation, Terex South Dakota, Inc. (“Terex SD”), and Terex Utilities, Inc.'s (collectively, “Terex” or the “Terex Defendants”) Motions for Continued Protection of Evidence [327], [335], [347].

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         This is a products liability action stemming from the failure of a 2002 Terex Hi-Ranger XT 60/70 boom, Serial No. 2021020554 (the “Subject Boom Truck”), an aerial lift device. Terex XT aerial devices are commonly utilized by tree trimming companies. The Subject Boom Truck consisted of a lower boom, upper boom, and bucket, as depicted in the following diagram:

         (IMAGE OMITTED)

         On April 9, 2014, Plaintiff Jeffrey Gaddy (“Plaintiff”) was in the bucket of the Subject Boom Truck when the lower boom stub fractured, causing Plaintiff to fall to the ground. Plaintiff suffered spinal injuries resulting in paraplegia. Plaintiff claims Terex S.D. negligently manufactured and designed the Subject Boom Truck, and that it failed to warn him of certain dangers. Plaintiff also claims that the steel used in the lower boom stub did not meet Terex's design specifications. Plaintiff contends the steel was distributed to Terex by Atlas's predecessor, LTV Copperweld.

         1. The Lower Boom Tube

         One of the main components of the lower boom stub in Terex's XT-series trucks is Terex part number 444195, which is a hollow rectangular beam with dimensions of 10” x 8” x 113”. (Atlas's Statement of Material Facts [295.1] (“ASMF”) ¶¶ 9-10).[1] On May 4, 1999, Terex revised the material specification for its lower boom tube, requiring it be comprised of high strength, low allow (“HSLA”) steel with a minimum yield strength of 70, 000 psi. (ASMF ¶ 11). The lower boom tube in the Subject Boom Truck was comprised of ASTM A500 carbon steel with a minimum yield strength of 46, 000 psi, and thus did not conform to Terex's materials specification. (ASMF ¶ 12). The lower boom tube is the part that failed in the Subject Boom Truck, resulting in Plaintiff's injuries.

         The Subject Boom Truck was manufactured by Terex on October 4, 2002. (ASMF ¶ 5). Between May 1999, when Terex revised its specification to require HSLA steel, and the October 2002 manufacture of the Subject Boom Truck, LTV Copperweld[2] supplied Joseph T. Ryerson & Son, Inc. (“Ryerson”) with, among other products, 10” x 8” hollow rectangular steel beams measuring 40 feet in length. (ASMF ¶ 33). The interior walls of each of these beams were die-stamped at 36-inch intervals with LTV Copperweld's logo, the date of manufacture of the beam, a mill identifier, and a heat log number, as depicted below:

         (IMAGE OMITTED)

         (ASMF ¶¶ 19-21). From June 16, 1999 through October 4, 2002, Ryerson cut certain of these hollow steel beams to the lower boom tube's 113-inch length and shipped these parts to Terex. (ASMF ¶ 34). Ryerson also shipped to Terex a limited number of 40-foot hollow rectangular beams, which Terex occasionally cut in-house to produce lower boom tubes. (ASMF ¶¶ 35, 36).

         2. LTV Copperweld and ITC

         During discovery in this case, it was discovered that the interior wall of the lower boom tube in the Subject Boom Truck was stamped with the logo of Independence Tube Corporation (“ITC”), not LTV ...


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