An H.J. Heinz Co. factory worker in Escalon, California, is suing the manufacturer of a piece of equipment that he alleges malfunctioned, resulting in amputation of both his arms, Law360 reported.
Raul Zamudio was cleaning a machine known as a “pulper 16” at the Heinz plant in July 2015 when the machine, which was in the “off” position, suddenly turned on and sliced off his arms. Zamudio filed his lawsuit against the machine maker, FMC Corp., for three strict product liability claims – negligent product liability, breach of express warranties, and loss of consortium.
FMC had sought the dismissal of the strict products liability and negligence claims because there was some dispute as to whether FMC was the original manufacturer of the machine that injured Zamudio. A Heinz facility manager testified he had no information on the pulper 16’s manufacturer, nor any invoices showing the original purchase date. The factory also didn’t have any evidence that the FMC had ever inspected, installed or repaired the pulper 16 or any of its parts.
U.S. District Judge Tony L. Nunley ultimately denied FMC’s motion on the basis that the manager’s testimony did not rule out the possibility that the company originally made the machine.
“Looking at the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs and drawing all reasonable inferences in their favor, the court cannot say as a matter of law that third-party ‘remanufacturing’ in 2009 broke the causal link between pulper 16’s original design and Mr. Zamudio’s injuries in 2015,” Judge Nunley said.
Judge Nunley did grant FMC’s bid to dismiss the breach of express warranties claim on the grounds that Zamudio didn’t establish the exact terms of a warranty or that a breach was caused.
Workplace injury lawyers
Beasley Allen handles a variety of cases related to workplace safety. While all workers should be guaranteed a safe working environment, all too often we handle cases of serious injuries and deaths resulting from a hazardous work environment. Many times our investigation reveals defective or dangerous machinery was involved, or employers failed to provide adequate protections or ignored safety regulations.