Lewis Barbe Expert Witness: Wagner Mining Equipment Company Court Case

Lewis Barbe Expert Witness: Wagner Mining Equipment Company Court Case

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667 F.2d 402 Patricia A. HOLLINGER, Administratrix of the Estate of Germaine S. Hollinger, Deceased, Appellant, vs. WAGNER MINING EQUIPMENT COMPANY, A Division of Paccar, Inc. No. 81-1359. United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. Argued Sept. 21, 1981. Decided Dec. 22, 1981. Rehearing Denied Jan. 15, 1982. Paul J. Senesky (argued), Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant. David L. Grove (argued), Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellee; David N. Hofstein, Philadelphia, Pa., of counsel. Before ALDISERT, HIGGINBOTHAM and SLOVITER, Circuit Judges. OPINION OF THE COURT SLOVITER, Circuit Judge. I. ISSUE 1 This is an appeal from the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Wagner Mining Equipment Co. (Wagner). In this diversity action plaintiff seeks damages for the death of her decedent,Germaine S. Hollinger (Hollinger), who was killed on May 27, 1977 at an underground mine operated by Bethlehem Mines Corp. (Bethlehem) in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, after being struck by a scooptram' operated by another Bethlehem employee, Irvin Hartz. The scooptram was manufactured by Wagner in1969 and was put into operation in November of that year by Bethlehem.

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667F.2d402


PatriciaA.HOLLINGER,AdministratrixoftheEstateof
GermaineS.Hollinger,Deceased,Appellant,
vs.
WAGNERMININGEQUIPMENTCOMPANY,ADivisionofPaccar,
Inc.
No.81-1359.


UnitedStatesCourtofAppeals,
ThirdCircuit.
ArguedSept.21,1981.
DecidedDec.22,1981.
RehearingDeniedJan.15,1982.


PaulJ.Senesky(argued),Galfand,Berger,Senesky,Lurie&March,Philadelphia,Pa.,forappellant.
DavidL.Grove(argued),Montgomery,McCracken,
Walker&Rhoads,Philadelphia,Pa.,forappellee;DavidN.
Hofstein,Philadelphia,Pa.,ofcounsel.

BeforeALDISERT,HIGGINBOTHAMandSLOVITER,CircuitJudges.
OPINIONOFTHECOURT
SLOVITER,CircuitJudge.


I. ISSUE

1 Thisisanappealfromthegrantofsummaryjudgmentinfavorofthedefendant,WagnerMining
EquipmentCo.(Wagner).Inthisdiversityactionplaintiffseeksdamagesforthedeathofher
decedent,GermaineS.Hollinger(Hollinger),whowaskilledonMay27,1977atanundergroundmine
operatedbyBethlehemMinesCorp.(Bethlehem)inMorgantown,Pennsylvania,afterbeingstruckbya
scooptram'operatedbyanotherBethlehememployee,IrvinHartz.Thescooptramwasmanufacturedby
Wagnerin1969andwasputintooperationinNovemberofthatyearbyBethlehem.


2 Plaintiffsclaim,whichevolvedinitspresentformduringdiscovery,isthatthescooptramwas
Soldinanunsafeconditionasdefinedbysection4o2AoftheRestatement(Second)ofTorts2becauseit
wasnotequippedwithanautomaticwarningdeviceatthetimeofitssale.Wagnermovedforsummary
judgment,essentiallycontendingthattheundisputedfactsprovethattheallegeddefectdidnotcause
Hollinger'sdeath.ThedistrictcourtgrantedsummaryjudgmenttoWagner,findingthatnogenuineissue
existsastothematerialfactthat"thedecedentsawandheardtheapproachingscooptram,"and
thereforethat"thepresenceorabsenceofanyaudibleorvisualdevice,whosesolefunctionwouldhave
beentoalertthedecedentthatthescooptramwascoming,couldnothavecausedtheaccident...."
Hollingerv.WagnerMiningEquipmentCo.,505F.Supp.894,899(E.D.Pa.1981).Thecourtheldinthe
alternativethatevenifcausationcouldbeestablished,therecouldbenoliabilityimposedonthe
manufacturerundersection4o2A(1)(b)oftheRestatement(Second)ofTortsbecauseBethlehemhad
removedtheoperativemanualhornwithwhichthescooptramwasoriginallysold,therebyeffectinga
"substantialchange"inthescooptram'scondition.Id.at900-02.Wefindthatsummaryjudgmentoneither
ofthesegroundswasinappropriateontherecordbeforethedistrictcourtandremand.

II.FACTS

3 Thefollowingfactsarenotindispute.Atthetimeoftheaccident,Hollingerandhishelper,Rump,
wereworkinginthe"607EastProductionDrift"oftheBethlehemminealongwithHartz,whowas
operatingthescooptram.Thediagramintherecordofthisportionofthedriftshowsamaintunnelat
least10feetwide,offthenorthsideofwhichwerethreeentries,numbered,fromwesttoeast,03,02and
01.Morethan5ofeeteastofentry01wasanothersmallentryinwhichwaslocatedanexplosivestorage
box.To"uRhefarthesteastwasthewatervalvefromwhichthescrubbertankofthescooptramwas
filled.Acrossthetunnelfromentry01(i.e.tothesouthofthatentry)wasawaterdrainagemanway.It
wasacommonpracticetoassignthreepersonstoworkinoneproductiondrift.Hollingerandhishelper
weredrillingandblastingoversizedchunksoforewhichhadbeenplacedinthe03entry.Thethird
employee,Hartz,thescooptramoperator,wasdrawingmuckfromthe01and02entriesanddumpingit


atapointwestofthe03entry.Hollingerlefthishelperintheo3entryandwalkedeastinthedirectionof
the01entryandthewaterdrainagemanwaylocateddirectlyacrossthetunnelfromthe01entry.At
roughlythesametime,Hartznoticedthatthescrubbertankofthescooptramwasempty.Inorderto
refillthetank,heproceededtowardsthewatervalve,locatedapproximately102feeteastofthe01entry.
Ashewasproceedingeastinthetunnel,HartzsawHollingerstandingattheentrancetothewater
drainagemanwayontherightsideofthetunnelacrossfromthe01entry.HartztestifiedthatHollinger
turnedtofacethescooptram,thathesawthelightonHollinger'shelmet,andthatsuchaturnwasin
accordancewithstandardminepractice.

Hollingerthensteppedintothewaterdrainagemanway.Atthetimeofthissighting,thescooptramwas
atapointbetweenthe02ando3entries,approximately100to150feetawayfromtheentrancetothe
waterdrainagemanway.Thescooptramwasmovingatapproximatelyfivemilesperhour.Hartzwas
unabletoseeHollingerortheentrancetothedrainagemanwayagainasheproceededfurtherdownthe
tunnel,duetothefactthatthedriver'sseatwaslocatedontheleftsideandthelargescoopobscuredhis
visionoftherightsideofthevehicle.Ashepassedthe01entry,Hartzfeltthatthescoopwasdragging
andheconsequentlyliftedthebucketafewinchesandproceededtothewatervalve.Uponreachingthe
watervalve,HartzlookedbackandsawHollinger'sbodylyinginthedrift.

III.SUMMARYJUDGMENT

5 Rule56oftheFederalRulesofCivilProcedureprovidesthatatrialcourtmayentersummary
judgment"ifthepleadings,depositions,answerstointerrogatories,andadmissionsonfile,togetherwith
theaffidavits,ifany,showthatthereisnogenuineissueastoanymaterialfactandthatthemovingparty
isentitledtoajudgmentasamatteroflaw."Wehavecharacterizedsummaryjudgmentas"'adrastic
remedy'",andhavemadeclear"thatcourtsaretoresolveanydoubtsastotheexistenceofgenuine
issuesoffactagainstthemovingparties."Nessv.Marshall,660F.2d517at519(3dCir.1981)(quoting
Tomalewskiv.StateFarmLifeInsuranceCo.,494F.2d882,884(3dCir.1974)).Moreover,"(i)nferencesto
bedrawnfromtheunderlyingfactscontainedintheevidentialsourcessubmittedtothetrialcourtmust
beviewedinthelightmostfavorabletothepartyopposingthemotion."Goodmanv.MeadJohnson&
Co.,534F.2d566,573(3dCir.1976),cert.denied,429U.S.1038,97S.Ct.732,5oL.Ed.2d748(1977)."On
reviewtheappellatecourtisrequiredtoapplythesametestthedistrictcourtshouldhaveutilized
initially."Id.

ProximateCause

Thefirstbasisforthedistrictcourt'sgrantofsummaryjudgmentwasthattheabsenceofanautomatic
warningdevicecouldnothavecausedtheaccident"becausethedecedentsawandheardthe
approachingscooptram."505F.Supp.at899.Theprimarybasisforthisfindingwasthecourt'sapparent
inferencethatsincetherewasevidencethatHollingerwasawareofthescooptram'sapproachshortly

beforetheaccident,heremainedawareofitupuntilthemomentofimpact.Athisdeposition,Hartz
testifiedthatwhenthescooptramwaspassingtheo3entry,hesawHollingeracrossfromthe01entry
andhesawhimturnandacknowledgethescooptram'sapproach.However,therewasalsotestimony,
apparentlyuncontradicted,thatthedistancebetweenthescooptramandHollingeratthispointwas100
to150feet.WeikDep.at29.Hartztestifiedthathewastravelingatnomorethanfivemilesperhourat
thetime,HartzDep.at34-35;thus,atleast14to20secondsmusthaveelapsedbetweenthetimeof
sightingandthetimeofimpact.Therefore,evenifHartz'testimonyestablishesthatHollingerwasaware
ofthescooptramwhenitwas100to150feetaway,itfailstoestablishconclusivelythatHollingerwas
awareofthescooptramimmediatelybeforetheimpact.

7 Otherevidencemaysuggestadifferentinference.Theexactpointofimpactisunknown,butitis
undisputedthatHollinger'sbodyandeffectswerefoundinthetunneleastofthe01entry,inthevicinity
oftheexplosivesstoragebox.AlthoughHollingerdidnotsayanythingtohisco-workerbeforeleavingthe
o3entry,apossibleinferencefromtheevidenceisthatHollingerwasgoingformoreblastingpowder
from"uRheexplosivestoragebox,locatedbetweentheorentryandthewatervalve.Bethlehem
AccidentReport;WeikDep.at16,23-24.3Itisalsoapparentlyundisputedthatthescooptram'srouteon
thisoccasion,proceedingpasttheorentryandontothewatervalve,wasadeviationfromitsprevious
patternofturningintothe02ororentrytocontinueitsmuckingoperations.
MESAReport,App.At8ra;WeikDep.at17,35-36.Inviewofthisevidence,ajurymightreasonably
concludethatevenifHollingerhadseenthescooptramwhenitwaspassingtheo3entry,heassumed
thatitwasgoingtoturnintothe02ororentryasithadpreviouslydone,andthereforehecontinuedto
walkeasttowardstheexplosivesstorageboxywithhisbacktothescooptram.EvenifHollingerheardthe
scooptram'scontinuedapproach,hemayhavebeenunawareofitsexactlocationandunconcernedifhe
believedthatitwasgoingtoturnoffbeforereachinghim.

Thedistrictcourtalsostressedtheevidencethatthescooptram"lituplikeaChristmastree"andhada
noiselevelcomparabletoadieseltruck,6andthatHollinger"hadnoknownhearingorseeingproblems."
505F.Supp.at899.Thisapparentlyledthedistrictcourttoconcludethatareasonablejurymust
necessarilyinferthatthenoiseandlightgeneratedbythescooptraminnormaloperationwouldbyitself
havebeensufficienttohavealertedHollingertoitsapproach.

g However,therewastestimonybyplaintiffsexpert,LewisBarbe,thatthenormaloperatingnoise
ofthescooptram,whileloud,was"subconsciouslynullifiedbypeopleinmines,"who"don'tpayany
attentionbecausetheyassumetheoperatorcanseethem."ThiswasthebasisforBarbe'sconclusionthat
"(s)ometypeofabiodirectionalalarm,"setatadifferentdecibelratingorfrequencysoastoidentifyitas
adangersignal,wasnecessarytoalertminerstothescooptram'sapproachandtothefactthatthedriver
couldnotseewherehewasgoing.BarbeDep.at10-11.Thesoundandlightgeneratedbythescooptram
itselfwereapparentlynotconsideredadequatewarningbytheFederalMiningEnforcementandSafety
Administration(MESA)sinceitsaccidentreportrecommendedthatscooptramsbeequippedwithaudible
warningdevices.App.at83a.


Werecognizethatunderthecircumstancesofthiscase,plaintiffwillnotbeabletoproduceanyevidence
ofHollinger'sactionsorstateofmindduringthecrucial14to20secondperiod.?Nonetheless,giventhe
strictstandardforsummaryjudgment,webelievethatthedistrictcourtcouldnotconcludeasamatterof
lawthatHollingerwasawareofthescooptram'spresenceimmediatelybeforetheimpact.Sinceajury
couldreasonablyconcludethathewasnotawareofthescooptram'spresenceatthattime,itcouldalso
concludethatanautomaticwarningdevicewouldhavealertedHollingertothescooptram'sapproach,
andthuscouldhavepreventedtheaccident.Ordinarilyajurymustdeterminetheissueofproximate
cause.Wefindthatinthiscaseplaintiffproducedsufficientevidencetoposeatriableissue.C.

SubstantialChange

Thealternategroundforthedistrictcourt'sgrantofsummaryjudgment,the"substantialchange"inthe
scooptramsubsequenttoWagner'ssale,wasbasedontheundisputedevidencethatthescooptramhad
beenequippedwithamanualhornatthetimeofsalebutthatthehornhadbeenremovedsometime
priortotheaccident.Theissueofsubstantialchange,likeproximatecause,isgenerallyoneforthejury.
Merriweatherv.E.W.BlissCo.,636F.2d42,44(3dCir.1980).However,wherenogenuineissueof
materialfactispresented,thecourtmaygrantsummaryjudgment.Thereisnodisputethattheremoval
ofthemanualhornconstitutedachange.But"(i)tisobviousthatnoteverychangeinavehiclewillrelieve
amanufacturerofliability"undersection402AoftheRestatement(Second)ofTorts.Forachangetobe
considered"substantial"forthispurpose,"thechangemusthavesomecausalconnectionwiththe
accident."Dennisv.FordMotorCo.,332

F.Supp.901,903-04(W.D.Pa.1971),affd,471F.2d733(3dCir.1973).Inotherwords,ifthepresenceofa
manualhornwouldnothavepreventedtheaccidentthenitsremovalcannotbeconsideredasubstantial
changesoastoprecludeliability.SeeBlimv.NewburyIndustries,Inc.,443F.2d1126,1128(lothCir.
1971)(Aldisert,J.,sittingbydesignation);Comment,SubstantialChange:AlterationofaProductasaBar
toaManufacturer'sStrictLiability,8oDick.L.Rev.245,250-51(1976).

3 Inconsideringthesignificanceoftheremovalofthemanualhorn,thedistrictcourtfoundthat
HartzhadinfactseenHollinger"withampleopportunitytoblowahornifonehadbeenmountedonthe
vehicleatthetime."505F.Supp.at901.Thecriticalquestion,however,isnotwhetherHartzcouldhave
blownthehornbutwhetherhewouldhaveblownit.Astothat,plaintiffsevidenceshowstwoseparate
basesonwhichajuryquestionhasbeenmadeout.

Plaintiffsmostvigorousargumentisdirectedtothestructureofthescooptramitself.Thethrustof
plaintiffsclaimisthatamanually-activatedwarningdevice,suchasahorn,wouldbeineffectual
rbecausethescooptramisconstructedsothatthevisionofthedriverwhoisseatedontheleft-handside
isrestrictedbytheplacementofthelargescoop.Plaintiffassertsthatinsuchasituationonlyan
automaticwarningdevice,whichisnotdependentforitsefficacyonthedriverseeingwhetheranyoneis



inthepathofthescooptram,canadequatelyprotectthoseworkinginthevicinityofthevehicle.Itis
undisputedthatafterHartzsightedHollingerhewasnolongerabletoseetheareaofthetunnelinwhich
Hollingerhadbeen.IfHartzcouldnothaveseenthatHollingerwasnolongerinapositionofsafety,ajury
mightconcludethathewouldhavehadnoreasontohavesoundedamanualhorn.Indeed,Assistant
MineSuperintendentWeiktestifiedthat"iftherewouldhavebeenahornonthescoop,Idoubtwhether
Hartz,theoperator,wouldhaveblew(sic)thehorn."WeikDep.at30.


TheotherdifficultywithrelyingonthemanualhorninthiscaseisHartz'testimony,reliedonby
Wagner,thatHollingerwasawareofthescooptram'sapproach.Asnotedabove,Hartztestifiedthatashe
passedthe03entry,hesawHollingeracknowledgethescooptram'sapproachandstepintothewater
drainagemanway,andheassumedthatHollingerwaswaitingforthevehicletopass.HartzDep.At23-24,
31,33,38.Again,ifHartzassumedHollingerwasawareofthescooptram,ajurymightconcludehewould
havehadnoreasontousethemanualhorn.Parenthetically,wenotethatthereisnotestimonybyHartz
thathewouldhaveusedthemanualhornifithadbeenonthescooptram.Neitherpartyaskedhimthat
questiononhisdeposition,andwecannotassumewhattheanswerwouldbewereheaskedattrial.We
merelyfindthatonthepresentstateoftherecord,theissueremainsopen.

Ourfunctioninreviewingagrantofsummaryjudgmentistoascertainifthereisanygenuineissueoffact
orpermissibleinferencefromfactwhichmustbelefttothejury.Inviewoftheevidence,ajurymight
reasonablyconcludethatthepresenceofamanualhornwouldnothavepreventedtheaccident.Inthat
event,itsremovalwouldnothaveconstitutedasubstantialchangesufficienttoprecludeliabilityunder
section402A.

7 Hanlonv.CyrilBathCo.,541F.2d343(3dCir.1975),andSchrefflerv.BirdsboroCorp.,490F.
2d1148(3dCir.1974),reliedonbothbyWagnerandthedistrictcourt,aredistinguishable.InHanlon,
plaintiffemployeewasinjuredwhenheaccidentallyactivatedapressbrakefromwhichhewas
attemptingtoextractapieceofmetalthathadbecomestuck.Thepressbrakehadoriginallybeen
equippedwithafootpedalthatrequiredtheoperatortoexertaconsiderableamount(sixty-fivepounds)
ofpressuretoactivate.
Theemployerhadsubstitutedamuchmoreeasilyactivated,movablefootswitchsimilartoaDictaphone
footpedal.Insustainingthejury'sverdictfordefendant,weheldthat"(i)nrelationtodangerof
accidentalactivation,thissubstitutionofasignificantlydifferentandmuchmoresensitivestarting
mechanismwasa'substantialchangeintheconditioninwhich...(thepressbrake)wassold,'withinthe
meaningofsection402A."541F.2dat345.

8 InSchreffier,plaintiffwasinjuredwhenaloadofhotsteelbilletswhichhadbeenaccidentally
releasedbyafellowemployeepushedhimagainstthemachineonwhichhewasworking.Plaintiffhad
beenstandingata"transfertable"attachingchainstoaloadofsteelinpreparationforitsremovalbya
crane.Thetransfertable,asoriginallysoldbydefendantmanufacturer,consistedofaseriesofparallel


railswithgapsbetweenthem.Theemployer,however,hadfilledtheseopeningswithsteelplatesto

enablethetransfertableworkerstousethemaswalk-ways.Weaffirmedadirectedverdictfordefendant
onthegroundthatthetransfertablewas"sosubstantiallymodifiedthatitwasthenfeasibletousethe
equipmentinamannerdifferentfromthatwhichwouldhavebeenexpectedfromobservationofthe
originaldesign."490F.2dat1153.InbothHanlonandSchreffier,therewaslittledoubtthattheproduct
asoriginallydesignedwouldhavepreventedtheaccident,andthatthemodificationmadebythe
employerwasaproximatecauseoftheinjury.Inthiscase,however,plaintiffcontendsthatthemanual
hornwithwhichthescooptramwasoriginallyequippedwouldnothavepreventedtheaccident,and
thereforethatitsremovalcouldnothavecontributedtoHollinger'sdeath.Thus,thereisafactualissue
presentedastowhetheranessentialingredientofsubstantialchange,acausalconnectionbetweenthe
modificationandtheresultinginjury,whichwaspatentlypresentinHanlonandSchreffler,ismissingin
thiscase.

IV.FEASIBILITY

WhenWagnercontendsthatevenifwefindthattherearejuryissuesastocausationandsubstantial
change,weshouldaffirmthegrantofsummaryjudgmentbecauseplaintifffailedtodemonstrateany
genuineissueoffactastowhethertheabsenceofanautomaticwarningdevicerenderedthescooptram
"defective"and"unreasonablydangerous"asthosetermsaredefinedinsection402AoftheRestatement
(Second)ofTorts.AlthoughWagnersuggeststhatthedistrictcourt"found"thatthescooptramwasnotU
Pdefective"or"unreasonablydangerous",weseenosuch"finding"inthedistrictcourt'sopinion.Inthe
portionoftheopiniondevotedtothesubstantialchangeissue,thecourtexpresseddoubtastothe
feasibilityofanautomaticwarningdevice.Thatdiscussionalsotouchedupontheissueofproximate
cause.Therelevantportionreads:

(P)laintiffhasnotdemonstratedhowsuch(anautomaticwarning)devicewouldoperate.Her
proposedexperttestifiedathisdepositionthatsuchadevicewouldoperateindependentlyofthe
operatorwhenevertherewasablindspot.However,heconcededthattherewasalwaysablindspoton
thescooptram.Theexpertalsoconfessedthathedidnotknowhowsuchadevicecouldbedesigned.
Assumingforthemomentthathewouldqualifyasanexpert,hisunsupportedconclusionswillnotcreate
agenuineissueastoanymaterialfact.Moreimportantly,thissameexpertacknowledgedthatevenifan
automaticallyactivatedaudibledeviceoperatingindependentlyofthedriverwerepracticable,andevenif
thescooptramhadbeenequippedtherewith,hecouldnotconcludethattheaccidentwouldhavebeen
preventedbyinstallationofone.Inshort,plaintiffhasnotproducedanyevidencesuggestingthe
feasibilityofdesigninganautomaticwarningdevice,whetheritwouldhavehadanypositiveeffect,and
whethertheuseofthisdevicewouldhavewouldhavepreventedtheinstantaccident.

505F.Supp.at902-03(footnotesomitted).Thedistrictcourtdidnotexplicitlystatethatthiswasan
independentbasisfortheentryofsummaryjudgment,asitdidwiththeothertwoholdings,anddidnot


relatethediscussionoffeasibilitytotheultimateissueofwhethertheproductwas"defective"or
"unreasonablydangerous";alsoitdidnotanalyzealloftheevidenceplaintiffprofferedonfeasibility.
Therefore,wearereluctanttoexpandthisbriefandambiguouspassageintoaseparatebasisforthe
districtcourt'sgrantofsummaryjudgment.

WeagreewithWagnerthatplaintiffhastheburdenofdemonstratingthattheautomaticwarningdevice
whichshepropoundswasinfactfeasible."(I)nestablishingthatthedesigninquestion(is)defectie,the
plaintiffmustofferproofofanalternative,saferdesign,practicableunderthecircumstances."Huddellv.
Levin,537F.2d726,737(3dCir.1976)(interpretingNewJerseylawofstrictliability);Jengv.Witters,452
F.Supp.1349,1359(M.D.Pa.1978),affd,591F.2d1335(3dCir.1979)(applyingHuddelltointerpretation
ofPennsylvanialaw).

'4Theevidenceonthisissueconsistsonlyofthedepositiontestimonyofplaintiffsexpert,LewisBarbe.As
wereadBarbe'stestimony,itisunclearwhichoftwopossibletypesofautomaticwarningdeviceshewas
describing:onewhichwouldselectivelyactivateitselfonlywhenneeded,oronewhichwouldactivate
itselfwheneverthevehicletravelsinaforwarddirection,thetimewhenthedriver'svisibilityismost
severelyrestricted.8WagnerpointstoBarbe'sinabilitytodescribefullyhowadevicesuchastheformer
couldbedesignedandarguesthattheothertypeofdevicewouldbecomeineffectivebecauseitssignal
wouldbeignoredovertime.Whilethefeasibilityofaselectivelyactivatingdevicedoesseemsomewhat
questionabletous,Barbesuggestedsomepossibilitiesforsuchadesignandtestifiedthattherewere
similardevicescommerciallyavailable,namedanumberofspecificbrands,andreferredtoother
undergroundequipmentwhichisequippedwithsometypeofautomaticwarningfunction.BarbeDep.at
16-17,23-26.Astoadevicewhichwouldoperatesimplyonforwardmotion,Barberejecteddefense
counsel'ssuggestionsthatacontinuouslyoperatingalarmwouldbecomepartoftheambientlightand
noiseofthemineandthusbesubconsciouslyignoredbythoseworkinginthearea.

9 Hetestifiedthathehadexperiencewithvehiclesequippedwithwarningdeviceswhichoperated
"mostofthetime,"id.at29,andinsistedthatthesoundmadebysuchdeviceswasdistinguishablefrom
thenoiseofmachinerywhichbecomespartoftheambientsoundlevelofthemine.Id.at18-20.

10 WagnerofferednoexpertwitnessofitsowntorefuteBarbe'stestimonyortosupportitsclaim
thatanautomaticwarningdevicewasnotfeasible.WhileBarbe'stestimonyisattimeslackingin
specificityandclarity,wemustconstrueitinthelightmostfavorabletoplaintiff.Goodmanv.Mead
Johnson&Co.,534F.2d566,573(3dCir.1976),cert.denied,429U.S.1038,97S•Ct•732,5oL.Ed.2d748
(1977).Wefindthattheissueofthefeasibilityofanautomaticwarningdeviceisacloseone,particularly
becauseplaintiffhasnotprovidedaclearandconcisediagramorverbalpictureofthetypeofdeviceit
posits.However,infaceoftherecordbeforeus,wecannotconcludethatnogenuineissueispresented.

11 Thedistrictcourtalsoincludedinthefeasibilitydiscussiontheseparatequestionofwhether
plaintiffestablishedthatanautomaticwarningdevicewouldinfacthavepreventedHollinger's



death.Whileplaintiffsexpertacknowledged,asthedistrictcourtemphasized,thathecouldnotposit
ivelystatethatthepresenceofanautomaticwarningdevicewouldhavepreventedtheaccidentinthis
case,hedidtestifythathehad"areasonablecertainty"thatitwouldhave,baseduponhisknowledge
andexperiencethat"thesealarmsreallyworkandpeopledopayattentiontothem."BarbeDep.at2123.AstheOregonSupremeupItistruethereisnotestimonythatthisaccidentwouldnothave
happenedifanalarmhadbeenprovided,butthereseldomissuchevidenceinacaseinwhichthecharge
isfailuretowarn.Itissufficienttoprovecausationifthereisevidenceorthejurycandrawaninference
thatawarningisgenerallyeffectiveinpreventingsuchaccidents.
;8Weagreewiththatapproach,whichisconsistentwithourearlierholdingthatontherecordinthis
casetheissueofproximatecauseistobedecidedbythejury.

Fortheforegoingreasons,wewillvacatethedistrictcourt'sgrantofdefendant'smotionforsummary
judgment,andremandforproceedingsnotinconsistentwiththisopinion.ALDISERT,CircuitJudge,
dissenting.Themajorityhaveconcludedthattheevidencebeforethedistrictcourtpresentedatriable
issueinthisproceedinginwhichappellantseekstotranslateanaccidentinacoalmineintoaproducts
liabilitycase.Idisagree.IwillgiveappellantanAforeffort,but,withthedistrictcourt,Iamoftheview
that,onthisrecord,theappellant'sinnovativetheorycannotsurviveamotionforsummaryjudgment.
Twomajorimpedimentspreventmefromacceptingappellant'sconvolutedtheory,presentedtoJudge
Troutmaninthedistrictcourtandrepeatedbeforethiscourt.Eachimpedimentconstitutesan
independentgroundforgrantingthemanufacturer'ssummaryjudgmentmotion.Ifirstclearawaythe
semanticunderbrush.Thethrustoftheplaintiffscaseisthatthemanufacturerfailedtoequipthe
scooptramwithawarningdevice.

Appellant'sexpertconcededthataconstantlyoperatingalarmwouldbeundesirableandinstead
presentedavaguespecificationforanideal"automatic"alarmthatwouldoperateonlywhenthe
scooptramdrivercouldnotseepeopleinthevehicle'spath.Appellant'sexpertcouldnotdescribehow
suchaselectivelyactuateddevicewouldoperate,butonemustinevitablyconcludethatthedriverwould
havetoactivateitmanually.1Thisbeingthesoletheorytosubmitthe402Adesigndefecttothejury,I
havenodifficultyoncludingthatthemanufacturermetthisrequirementprecisely.

;4 Justasonemaynothangasignthatreads,"thisisahorse,"aroundtheneckofacowandexpect
onlookerstoregardtheanimalasanythingotherthanacow,neithershouldoneexpectotherstobe
impressedbynewlabelsforfamiliarpiecesofmachinery.Theproposedquasi-automatic"warning
device"-manuallyactivatedwhencircumstancessorequire-isnothingmorethanahorn,2andthe
undisputedfactisthatthemanufacturerequippedthescooptramwithahornthatwasremoved
sometimebeforethedayoftheaccident.Iwouldaffirmthegrantofsummaryjudgmentonthisground
alone.Evenifthisanalysisisrejectedonthetheorythatthereisadifferencebetweenhornsthatarefully
automatic,quasi-automatic,andpurelymanual,theuncontrovertedfactsshowclearlythatawarning
deviceonthescooptramwouldnothavepreventedthisunfortunateaccident.



;6Thepurposeofawarningdeviceistoalertthosenotalreadyawarethatadangerispresent.Hollinger
didnotrequirewarning:hehadseenthescooptramcomingtowardhimonlysecondsearlier.The
operatortestifiedthatHollingersawthescooptramand,acknowledgingitsapproach,signalledtothe
operator.

3 Duringtheshortintervalbetweenthatsignalandtheimpact,themachinewaseffectivelyitsown
warningdevice,remindinganyonenearbyofitspresence.Theoperatorcharacterizedthescooptramaslit
uplikeaChristmastreeandproducinganoiselikeadieseltruck.

;7 Nevertheless,becauseitisnotclearwhyHollingerfailedtogetoutofthemachine'sway,the
appellantwouldletthiscasegototrial.Itisonethingtoproceedwithtrialbecauseevidenceinsupport
ofasummaryjudgmentmotionhasbeenmetbyfactualshowingsthatraiseaquestionofmaterialfact;it
isquiteanothertoaskajurytospeculatewhatthedecedentmighthavebeenthinkingandwhethera
hypotheticalalarmmighthavemadehimalterhisactions.Thescooptramoperator'stestimonyistheonly
evidencethatcanbeadducedonthecausationissue.Appellantdidnotofferanytestimonytocounter
thisinthedistrictcourt,noristhereanysuggestionthattrialwillproduceadditionalevidence.
Accordingly,Iwouldholdthatwhethertheallegeddesigndefectwastheproximatecauseofthedeathof
appellant'supdecedentwasnotaquestionwarrantingtrial.

IIFortheseseparatereasons,IwouldaffirmJudgeTroutman'sgrantofsummaryjudgmentinfavorof
themanufacturer.Asdefinedbythedistrictcourt,"Ascooptram,alsoknownasanLHD(load-haul-dump)
unit,isatrackless,lowprofiledieselpoweredvehicleusedtotransportearthandoreinunderground
mines."Hollingerv.WagnerMiningEquipmentCo.,505F.Supp.894,895n.i(E.D.Pa.1981)


2 Section4o2Aprovidesinrelevantpart:
(1)Onewhosellsanyproductinadefectiveconditionunreasonablydangeroustotheuserorconsumer
ortohispropertyissubjecttoliabilityforphysicalharmtherebycausedtotheultimateuserorconsumer,
ortohisproperty,ifthesellerisengagedinthebusinessofsellingsuchaproduct,anditisexpectedto
anddoesreachtheuserorconsumerwithoutsubstantialchangeintheconditioninwhichitissold.
Pennsylvaniahasadoptedsection4o2A.Webbv.Zern,422Pa.424,220A.2d853(1966).

3 AccordingtoAssistantMineSuperintendentWeikRumpwasHollinger'shelper,andtheywere
preparingsomelargechunksforsecondaryblasting...andtheydidn'tquitehaveenoughpowderto
completethenumberofchunkstheyweregoingtoblast,andatthatpoint,Rump-Hollingerdidn'tsay
anythingtoRumpthathewasgoingformorepowder,hejustleft,butRumpknewthathewasjustgoing
formorepowder.WeikDep.at23-24

4 Therewastestimony,however,thatthescooptramhadgonetothewatervalveon"acouple"of
otheroccasionsearlierintheshift.HartzDep.at39