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Redmond-Nieves v. Okuma America Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 16, 2019

MONICA REDMOND-NIEVES, Personal Representative of the Estate of Edgard Nieves, Plaintiff,
v.
OKUMA AMERICA CORPORATION, & ROBERT E. MORRIS COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOCKET NOS. 104 & 105)

          TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE

         Monica Redmond-Nieves (“Plaintiff”) filed this wrongful death action on behalf of the estate of her husband, Edgard Nieves (“Mr. Nieves”). She alleges that Okuma America Corporation (“Okuma”) and Robert E. Morris Company, LLC, were negligent and breached express and implied warranties by selling Okuma's L1420 CNC Lathe.

         Plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment on liability for breach of implied warranty. (Docket Nos. 104). Okuma has filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against it. (Docket No. 105). Because the parties raise genuine disputes of material fact relative to negligence, breach of implied warranty, and punitive damages, the Court denies Okuma's motion for summary judgment on Counts I and II and the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment on Count III. Because Plaintiff fails to oppose summary judgment on the breach of express warranty claim, the Court grants Okuma's motion as to Count IV.

         Background

         In 1998, Inner-Title Corporation (“Inner-Tite”) purchased an Okuma L1420 CNC Lathe from Robert E. Morris Company, LLC, a distributor for Okuma. (Docket No. 104-1 at 2). On December 24, 2015, Mr. Nieves, an employee of Inner-Title, died while operating this lathe. Mr. Nieves inserted a six-foot piece of metal bar stock into the lathe, leaving approximately two feet of bar stock extended beyond the chuck cylinder. When the lathe reached a certain operating speed, [1] it began whipping the bar stock. The bar stock bent to a 90-degree angle and struck Mr. Nieves in the head and arm. Co-workers found Mr. Nieves conscious but suffering from massive bleeding. Mr. Nieves underwent several surgeries but ultimately died five hours later.

         Plaintiff originally filed a Complaint in state court, but Okuma removed the case to this Court on November 2, 2016. Plaintiff asserts four claims against Okuma: wrongful death for negligence (Count I), conscious pain and suffering for negligence (Count II), breach of implied warranty (Count III), and breach of express warranty (Count IV). Plaintiff also seeks punitive damages.

         On April 30, 2019, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on liability for breach of warranty. (Docket No. 104). Okuma filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against it on May 1, 2019. (Docket No. 105).

         Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” An issue is “genuine” when a reasonable factfinder could resolve it in favor of the nonmoving party. Morris v. Gov't Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 27 F.3d 746, 748 (1st Cir. 1994). A fact is “material” when it may affect the outcome of the suit. Id.

         When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, “the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Scanlon v. Dep't of Army, 277 F.3d 598, 600 (1st Cir. 2002) (citation omitted).

         Discussion

         1. Counts I & II (Wrongful Death and Conscious Pain and Suffering Negligence)

         Okuma moves for summary judgment on both of Plaintiff's negligence claims. Okuma, however, has failed to make any argument showing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on either claim. The Court thus denies Okuma's motion for summary judgment on Counts I and II.

         2. Count III (Breach of ...


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