Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reeves Construction Co. v. Hayward Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

February 4, 2019




         Presently before the Court is Defendant Diacom Corporation's (“Diacom”) Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 59] and Motion in Limine to Exclude Expert Testimony of Dr. Fredrick Willard [Doc. 61]. For the reasons that follow, Diacom's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED, and its Motion in Limine is DENIED as moot.


         In 2');">2');">2');">2008, Plaintiff ordered an MP-10S 75tph Asphalt Emulsion System, Continuous Injection Process machine (“CIP”) from non-party Dalworth Machine Products (“Dalworth”) to be used in manufacturing asphalt paving and other materials. [Doc. 1, ¶¶ 6-8; Doc. 69-1, ¶¶ 1, 4]. The CIP included an acid system that supplied hydrochloric acid for use in manufacturing the asphalt products. [Id. at ¶ 4]; Burdette Depo., pp. 30:7- 16, 34:12');">2');">2');">2-2');">2');">2');">21]. Prior to Plaintiff using the CIP, Dalworth installed a gauge guard manufactured by Defendant Hay ward Industries, Inc. ("Hay ward") and distributed to Dalworth by non-party Wipco, which was used to protect the CIP's pressure gauge from corrosive or otherwise damaging fluids. [Doc. 69-1, ¶¶ 10, 11; Doc. 83, ¶ 10, 12');">2');">2');">2]. A component part of the gauge guard was a diaphragm manufactured by Diacom and composed of Viton, a fluoropolymer. [Doc. 83, ¶¶ 12');">2');">2');">2, 2');">2');">2');">20]. The gauge guard is depicted below with the diaphragm labeled as "4. FPM Membrane."

         On June 2');">2');">2');">2, 2');">2');">2');">2014, the Viton diaphragm failed due to hydrogen chloride (i.e. the gaseous form of undissolved hydrochloric acid) continuously permeating through the Viton diaphragm over time and reacting with water on the other side of the diaphragm to create hydrochloric acid, which corroded the stainless-steel parts of the pressure gauge to which the gauge guard was attached. [Doc. 1, ¶ 18; see also Doc. 94, pp. 2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2:2');">2');">2');">23-2');">2');">2');">25:2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2].[1]The CIP leaked approximately 30 gallons of hydrochloric acid throughout Plaintiff's facility, destroying the CIP and part of the building in which the CIP was housed. [Doc. 69-1, ¶¶ 2');">2');">2');">21, 2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2]. Plaintiff alleges that the leak caused approximately $1.8 million in damages. [Doc. 1, ¶ 2');">2');">2');">28].

         As a result, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit, alleging that the damages to its property were proximately caused by Hayward and Diacom's negligent failure to (1) use due care in the selection of materials for use in acid-contact environments, (2');">2');">2');">2) use due care to avoid causing injury to others, (3) provide accurate and timely information concerning the suitability of their products for acid-contact environments, including the effect of permeability on the useful life of their products, and (4) provide adequate warnings regarding the likelihood that their products would fail over time when used in acid-contact environments. [Doc. 1, ¶ 2');">2');">2');">26].

         Diacom moves for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against it and seeks to exclude the testimony of Plaintiff's expert witness, Dr. Fred Willard. The Court held a hearing on the issues, conducted an extensive review of the record, and now finds as follows.


         A. Standard of Review

         A party is entitled to summary judgment “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). As to issues for which the movant would bear the burden of proof at trial, the “movant must affirmatively show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and support its motion with credible evidence demonstrating that no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party on all of the essential elements of its case.” Landolfi v. City of Melbourne, 2');">2');">2');">2');">515 Fed.Appx. 832');">2');">2');">2, 834 (11th Cir. 2');">2');">2');">2013) (citing Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2');">2');">2');">2 F.3d 1112');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2 F.3d 1112');">2');">2');">2, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993)). As to issues for which the non-movant would bear the burden of proof at trial, the movant may (1) simply point out an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case or (2');">2');">2');">2) provide “affirmative evidence demonstrating that the [non-movant] will be unable to prove its case at trial.” United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop. in Greene & Tuscaloosa Ctys., 41 F.2');">2');">2');">2d 142');">2');">2');">28');">941 F.2');">2');">2');">2d 142');">2');">2');">28, 1438 (11th Cir. 1991) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317');">477 U.S. 317, 32');">2');">2');">25 (1986)).

         Once the movant satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the non-movant, who must “go beyond the pleadings and present affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Porter v. Ray, 461 F.3d 1315');">461 F.3d 1315, 132');">2');">2');">20 (11th Cir. 2');">2');">2');">2006) (citing Fitzpatrick, 2');">2');">2');">2 F.3d at 1115-17) (emphasis added). “A factual dispute is genuine ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Four Parcels, 941 F.2');">2');">2');">2d at 1437 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 2');">2');">2');">242');">2');">2');">2');">477 U.S. 2');">2');">2');">242');">2');">2');">2, 2');">2');">2');">248, (1986)).

         B. Design Defect

         Plaintiff's first claim charges Diacom with breaching its duty to “use due care in the selection of materials for use in acid-contact environments and applications.” [Doc. 1, ¶ 2');">2');">2');">25(a)]. This allegation seems to implicate design-defect liability; however, during the hearing on Defendants' motions, Plaintiff's counsel specifically indicated that this is not a design-defect case. [Doc. 94, p. 92');">2');">2');">2:12');">2');">2');">2-18].[2');">2');">2');">2" name="FN2');">2');">2');">2" id= "FN2');">2');">2');">2">2');">2');">2');">2] Accordingly, Plaintiff has waived any design defect claim that can be inferred from the Complaint, and the Court will not consider any allegations or arguments as to such a claim. To the extent a design-defect claim is present, it is DISMISSED without prejudice.

         C. Fa ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.