Buchalter litigators Steven Di Saia, Nancy Swift, Paul Alarcon, and Bree Oswald obtained a favorable summary judgment ruling on behalf of Caterpillar Inc. in an action in the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, arising out of a fire in a mobile hay lift allegedly started by an internal defect in the engine’s control unit (ECM). The engine left Caterpillar’s possession fourteen years prior to the incident and was subsequently installed in the hay lift. Thirteen years then passed before plaintiff acquiring the used unit at auction. There was no credible evidence that the ECM was defective when the unit left the defense’s control. The Honorable Cynthia J. Bailey found that plaintiff failed established a prima facie case for strict products liability or negligence and that the lack of evidence “doomed” plaintiff’s claims. The Court further ruled that the plaintiff committed spoliation of evidence before Caterpillar’s involvement, in the analysis and removal of the ECM and other engine components, and agreed with the defense’s contention that the Economic Loss Rule limited the plaintiff’s claims.
Bree Oswald took the lead on drafting the moving papers and Steve Di Saia represented Caterpillar Inc. at oral argument. Please join us in congratulating Buchalter’s Product Liability Practice!