June 7, 2012
Strong & Hanni obtained a significant ruling on behalf of its client, Timpte, Inc., in the case of Herrod v. Metal Powder Products, Inc., et. al, 1:07-CV-00023 (June 7, 2012). In a published decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah granted Timpte’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against Timpte.
The Herrod case involved a wheel off a semi trailer traveling on I-15 in Salt Lake City, which wheel then struck plaintiffs’ minivan, causing catastrophic injuries to the minivan’s occupants. The plaintiffs in the case alleged that the keepers that held the wheels on the trailer were defectively designed, making them prone to installation errors, and which in turn could cause the wheels to come off. Timpte manufactured the trailer, installing the keepers on it as specified by the purchaser of the trailer. However, it did not design or manufacture the keepers themselves.
The court granted summary judgment in favor of Timpte, holding that the contract specifications defense barred plaintiffs’ claims of strict product liability against Timpte. As stated by the court, “the contract specifications defense protects manufacturers from being held liable for injuries caused by design defects in products they manufacture in accordance with directions and specifications supplied by the purchaser of the products, unless the danger associated with following the specifications is obvious.” In this case, because Timpte manufactured the semi trailer in accordance with the purchaser’s contract specifications, it was not liable for any alleged defects in the keepers on the trailer.