United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.
Anthony Provanzano (“plaintiff”) brought this
action against defendants MTD Products Co. and Lowe's
Home Centers, LLC (collectively, “defendants”)
arising out of a riding lawn mower accident during which four
of plaintiff's fingers were amputated. Plaintiff claims
MTD's lawn mower was defective and unreasonably dangerous
and as a result, caused plaintiff's injuries. Plaintiff
also seeks relief from Lowe's for selling such a product.
filed separate motions for summary judgment against
plaintiff. For the following reasons, those motions will be
allowed, in part, and denied, in part.
Factual and Procedural Background
the afternoon of October 12, 2014, Provanzano began to mow
his lawn. After making two or three passes around his front
yard, he noticed grass was clumping and not being ejected
from the chute. He got off the rider mower to see if the
grass was wet enough to clump and whether he had to remove
dismounting, however, he locked the parking break and put the
lawn mower in neutral. He also testified that he thinks he
accidently pulled the deck height lever instead of the blade
engagement lever (“PTO lever”). Provanzano
recounted that while dismounting he had one hand on the
steering wheel and one hand on the back of the seat to steady
himself until he reached the ground. He then went to the back
of the mower, surmised there was a clog and attempted to
clear it. He walked around to the right side of the mower
where he compared the grass from the chute and the uncut
grass under foot. At that point, Provanzano reached under the
cutting deck in an attempt to clear the clog resulting in the
amputation of four of his fingers.
purchased his riding lawn mower, manufactured by defendant
MTD Products, from a Lowe's Home Centers in Danvers,
riding lawn mower has a PTO lever which is used to engage and
disengage the cutting blade from the mower's engine. The
PTO lever is located next to a deck height lever on the right
fender of the mower. The riding mower also has an operator
presence control (“OPC”) switch in the seat frame
which is designed to stop the engine and blade as soon as the
riders' weight is removed from the back of the seat.
April, 2015, defendants removed the case from Massachusetts
state court to federal court. Pending before this Court are
defendants' motions for summary judgment on all counts of
Defendants' Motions for Summary
move for summary judgment on the merits of each of
plaintiff's four claims. The complaint alleges separately
against each defendant 1) breach of implied and express
warranty of merchantability (Counts I and II), 2) negligence
(Counts III and IV), 3) unfair or deceptive acts or practices
under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c.
93A (“Chapter 93A”) (Counts V and VI) and 4)
double or treble damages under that same statute (Counts VII
role of summary judgment is “to pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 950 F.2d 816, 822 (1st Cir. 1991). The burden is on
the moving party to show, through the pleadings, discovery
and affidavits, “that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
A genuine issue of material fact exists where the evidence
with respect to the material fact in dispute “is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id.
the moving party has satisfied its burden, the burden shifts
to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine, triable issue. Celotex
Corp.v.Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324
(1986). The Court must view the entire record in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party and indulge all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.
O'Connorv.Steeves, 994 F.2d
905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). Summary judgment is appropriate if,
after viewing the record in the non-moving party's favor,