MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT, AMER
SPORTS WINTER & OUTDOOR COMPANYâS, MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Michael D. Ricciuti, Justice
action arises out of a January 15, 2011 incident in which the
plaintiff, Francis Clairmont (" Clairmontâ), tripped and
fell while wearing a pair of boots manufactured by defendant
Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor Company (" Amer
Sports"). Clairmontâs Complaint against Amer Sports
alleges negligence (Count I), defective design (Count II),
breach of warranty (Count III), and failure to warn (Count
IV) in connection her accident. Clairmontâs husband and
co-plaintiff, George Clairmont, also asserts a claim for loss
of consortium in the Complaint (Count IX).
matter is before the Court on Amer Sportsâ motion for summary
judgment on all of the Plaintiffsâ claims. For the following
reasons, Amer Sportsâ motion is
following relevant facts are either undisputed or presented
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, in
accordance with the dictates of Mass. R. Civ. P. 56.
about January 15, 2011, Plaintiff Francis Clairmont ("
Francis") was shopping at the Derby Street Shoppes in
Hingham. She was wearing a pair of Solomon Gore-tex
Contragrip ankle high hiking boots (" the Boots")
at the time. Amer Sports manufactured the Boots. The Boots
have a " speed lacing" design, which includes a
rigid J-shaped hook comprised of a curved neck and a
fastening tail, through which the laces pass to tie each of
the Boots. As Francis exited the store, the lace of the left
boot caught on the hook of her right boot. She fell forward
as her legs became entangled and was injured.
present no expert testimony on the design of the speed laces,
and have adduced no evidence that Amer Sports knew, or had
reason to know, of any similar accidents or occurrences
caused by the speed laces.
Sports contends that manufacturers have used the patented
speed lacing design for more than one-hundred years, and that
this design is popular on hiking boots, work boots, and ice
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when the record shows that "
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Mass. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also
DuPont v. Commissioner of Corr., 448 Mass. 389, 397
(2007). The moving party bears the initial burden of
demonstrating that there is no triable issue and he or she is
entitled to judgment. Ng Bros. Constr., Inc. v.
Cranney, 436 Mass. 638, 644 (2002), citing Pederson
v. Time, Inc., 404 Mass. 14, 17 (1989);
Kourouvacilis v. Gen. Motors Corp., 410 Mass. 706,
716 (1991). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the
Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in his
or her favor. Jupin v. Kask, 447 Mass. 141, 143
(2006), citing Coveney v. President & Trs. of
the Coll. of the Holy Cross, 388 Mass. 16 (1983);
see also Simplex Techs., Inc. v.
Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 429 Mass. 196, 197 (1999).
Negligence, Defective Design, and Breach of Warranty
Claims (Counts I, II, and III)
styled as three different theories of liability, Counts I,
II, and III alleging negligence, defective design and breach
of warranty, respectively, all turn on the same core
contention that the speed laces on the Boots were defectively
designed and that such defect caused plaintiff Francisâ
establish a claim for defective design, a plaintiff must show
that the manufacturer " failed to exercise reasonable
care to eliminate avoidable or foreseeable dangers to the
user of the product." Morrell v. PreciseEngineering, Inc., 36 Mass.App.Ct. 935, 936 (1994)
(Rule 1:28 Opinion), citing Uloth v. CityTank
Corp., 376 Mass. 874, 880-881 (1978). A defective design
claim requires proof that the product is not reasonably safe
for its intended purposes and for reasonably foreseeable
uses, considering the customerâs ordinary expectations about
the product. SeeBack v. Wickes Corp., 375
Mass. 633, 640-641 (1978); seealsoHaglund v. PhilipMorris, Inc., 446 Mass.
741, 748 (2006) (in design defect case, " jury must
weigh multiple factors, including âthe gravity of the danger
posed by the challenged design, the likelihood that such
danger would occur, the mechanical feasibility of a safer
alternative design, the financial cost of an improved design,
and the adverse consequences to the product and to the
consumer that would result from an alternative design.â
") (citations omitted). Further, " [i]n claims
alleging negligence in the design of a product, as with
claims of a design defect in breach of the implied warranty
of merchantability, the plaintiff must show an available
design modification which would reduce the risk without undue
cost or interference with the performance of the [product],
and the jury must consider whether a safer alternative design
was available in deciding whether the defendant was negligent
for failing to adopt that design.... a reasonable ...