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Secured Summary Judgment for Fortune 100 Client in Leg Amputation Case

A Hodgson Russ team led by Ryan Lucinski and Matthew Parker won summary judgment for a Fortune 100 client that manufactures turf and lawn care equipment. The plaintiff was cleaning a compact utility tractor, with a grass dethatcher attachment, when he slipped and got his foot caught in the running thatcher blades, suffering significant injuries that resulted in a below the knee amputation of his leg. During discovery, we adduced evidence that the tractor’s seat switch had been bypassed by the plaintiff's employer, which allowed the attachment to remain under power without an operator in the seat. To counter our client's subsequent-modification defense, the plaintiff alleged that the tractor's seat switch was too easy to bypass, but we were able to show that such mechanism was state of the art and a common design among competitor model tractors. The plaintiff sought in excess of $20,000,000 in damages. The Court granted summary judgment to our client and disposed of the case entirely. No appeal was taken.