Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Foreseeable Misuse — Normal Use
Hoover v. New Holland North America Inc, et al.
Appealed from Supreme Court, Niagara County
Background: CNH America LLC and Niagara Frontier Equipment Sales Inc. appealed from a judgment entered following a trial on liability and damages in a products liability action. The plaintiff alleged that he and his wife were using a tractor-driven post-hole digger when her coat became caught in the driveline that connected the tractor’s power take off with the digger. The plaintiff was violently dragged into the driveline, severing her arm. On appeal, the defendants argued that a damaged plastic covering to the gear box constituted a material alteration relieving them of liability.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. The court found that the plaintiff’s proof established that a protruding bolt that attached the driveline to the gearbox was an entanglement hazard and the plastic gearbox shield used to guard against the bolt could be damaged by normal use or foreseeable misuse of the digger.
Paul F. Jones of Phillips Lytle for the defendants-appellants-respondents and third-party plaintiff-appellant; John A. Collins of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria for the plaintiff-respondent and plaintiff-respondent-appellant; Joseph A. Matteliano of Augello & Matterliano for the third-party defendant-respondent