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AL-Yaseri v. TMB Baking

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 24, 2016

KARRAR AL-YASERI, Plaintiff,
v.
TMB BAKING a/k/a T M B BAKING, INC. and M. BERTRAND PUMA d/b/a MACHINES BERTRAND Societe Des, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.

This is a product liability action arising out of a workplace injury. Plaintiff Karrar Al-Yaseri alleges that he was injured while working as a baker at Traditional Breads, Inc. in Lynn, Massachusetts. Specifically, Al-Yaseri alleges that he was operating a “Euro 2000S” molding machine manufactured by defendant M. Bertrand Puma (“Machines Bertrand”) and sold by defendant TMB Baking, Inc. (“TMB California”) when the machine caught his right hand, crushing it.

TMB California has moved for summary judgment, contending that there is no evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer that it sold the machine that injured Al-Yaseri. For the following reasons, that motion will be granted.

I. Background

Except where otherwise noted, the following facts are either undisputed or taken in the light most favorable to Al-Yaseri as the non-moving party.

A. The Parties and Other Relevant Entities

Karrar Al-Yaseri is a resident of Lynn, Massachusetts. (Comp. ¶ 1). On July 12, 2010, he was working as a baker at Traditional Breads, Inc. That day, while he was operating a “Euro 2000S” molding machine, he sustained severe injuries to his right hand when it was caught and pulled into the machine. (Comp. ¶ 5).

The Euro 2000S was manufactured by the “Electrolux Entities, ” which is the parties’ shorthand name for a group of associated French manufacturers. (Suas Dep. 16-22).[1] Electrolux uses the trademark “TMB BAKING A GLOBAL CONCEPT” to distribute and sell its baking machines in the United States. (Suas Dep. 25; Warwick Dep. 15).[2]

TMB Baking, Inc. (“TMB California”) is a California corporation that distributes machines, products, and parts for the baking industry. (Suas Dep. 12-14). The original owner of TMB California was Michel Suas, who was the sole owner of TMB California’s stock until he sold it in 2012 or 2013 to Gregory Warwick. (Suas Dep. 12, 18-19). TMB California does not manufacture its own machines. It sells only new machines manufactured by other companies, and does not sell used machines. (Suas Dep. 12-14, 55).

TMB California uses the same name (“TMB Baking”), logo, and marketing label as Electrolux (which actually manufactures the TMB Baking line of products). (Warwick Dep. 15-23). However, TMB California has different owners, officers, and employees than Electrolux, and is not a corporate subsidiary of any of the Electrolux entities. (Suas Dep. 29-30). TMB California’s only connection to Electrolux is its role as a non-exclusive distributor of Electrolux products in the United States. (Suas Dep. 30).

In order to facilitate TMB California’s sales of the Euro 2000S, Electrolux printed “cut sheets” containing information concerning the machine. (Warwick Dep. 15-21). Suas used the cut sheets in marketing the Euro 2000S in the United States, and they contained the address for TMB California in order to provide customers with a point of contact in the United States. (Warwick Dep. 19).

B. The Purchase of the Euro 2000S

Fitzroy Alexander is the owner of Traditional Breads. According to Alexander, Traditional Breads purchased the Euro 2000S that injured Al-Yaseri in approximately 2001. (Alexander Dep. 13-14). Alexander testified that he bought the machine new. (Id.). He could not, however, identify the company that sold it to him. (Id.).

Alexander testified that he “only” bought equipment through Gary Shapiro of Vagra Equipment and another equipment salesman named Eli Cohen. (Alexander Dep. 14). Shapiro, however, testified that he never sold TMB machines or other TMB products. (Shapiro Dep. 18, 35). The record contains no information ...


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