Louisville Ladder granted summary judgment

By Carrie Salls | Mar 8, 2018

MIAMI – Louisville Ladder Inc.’s motion for a ruling that it was not at fault for “failing to warn users of a design defect in [its ladders]” was granted as part of a defect lawsuit filed by a man who fell from a ladder manufactured by the company, according to an order filed March 1 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

MIAMI – Louisville Ladder Inc.’s motion for a ruling that it was not at fault for “failing to warn users of a design defect in [its ladders]” was granted as part of a defect lawsuit filed by a man who fell from a ladder manufactured by the company, according to an order filed March 1 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In the March 1 partial summary judgment, the court said plaintiff Jorge Morejon “fell while using a ladder to descend from the roof of a property on Oct. 29, 2015.”

The order said the ladder Morejon was using “was in good condition and had a warning instruction label on it.”

“The label complied with the standards promulgated by the American National Standards Institute,” the order said. 

The court said the ANSI standards are designed “to provide reasonable safety for life, limb and property.”

According to the order, Morejon acknowledged he had “read the warning and instruction label prior to using the ladder,” and he “had no questions, curiosities, issues or concerns with how to properly set up the ladder.

Despite this admission, the court said Morejon “does not dispute that he testified he did not rely on the ladder labels when setting up the ladder.”

In its motion for partial summary judgment, the court said Louisville Ladder “argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff’s failure to warn claim because: ‘(1) [the defendant]’s warning and instruction label is accurate, clear and unambiguous; (2) plaintiff did not rely on the applicable warning and instruction label; and (3) plaintiff has not proffered any expert testimony on the issue of the alleged inadequacy of the ladder’s labels.’”

“[The] plaintiff’s lack of reliance on the warning and instruction label accompanying the subject ladder is fatal to his failure to warn claim,” according to the summary judgment motion. “There can be no causation for failure to warn unless plaintiff relied on the warning and label to provide him with information to prevent the alleged incident from occurring and that a different warning would have prevented his alleged [injury].”

In response to the summary judgment motion, the district court said Morejon explained that he was not alleging he fell because of the warning labels on the ladder, but that “there is evidence from which a jury could infer that defendant failed to warn of design defects inherent to this type of ladder, especially in applications involving roof structures.”

The district court still addressed the label’s role in Morejon’s fall, saying in its order “Because the plaintiff read but did not rely on the label the plaintiff cannot show that the inadequate label proximately caused the plaintiff’s fall.”

In addition, U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan said in the order “The plaintiff has also not presented any evidence of what adequate warnings should have been given or cited any record evidence that he would have relied on the warning and instruction label had the defendant provided an adequate one.”

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