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Client Successes

Schnader Wins Important Victory for Grove Crane

07/11/2007

Saul Wilensky, an attorney with the New York office of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, secured an important victory for his client in July 2007, when the Supreme Court of New York, County of Richmond granted a motion of summary judgment in favor of Grove U.S. LLC, also known as Grove Crane, a division of Manitowoc Crane Group.

The decision, issued by the Honorable Joseph J. Maltese on July 11, 2007, granted the motion for summary judgment brought by Grove Crane in a case that involved an accident that occurred in 2002, when a crane manufactured and designed by Grove fell over as it was attempting to lift concrete blocks onto a barge. The operator of the crane – who was employed by May Ship Repair Contacting Corp. at the time of the accident – was seriously injured. The plaintiff subsequently brought a case against Grove Crane – among others – under the theories of strict product liability and/or negligence.

In support of the motion for summary judgment, Mr. Wilensky – on behalf of Grove Crane – argued that neither a strict products liability nor a negligence theory should apply as the plaintiff had failed to establish that the crane – manufactured in 1975 – was not reasonably safe for intended use. Additionally, Mr. Wilensky argued that the deposition testimony of the plaintiff, in which he testified that he had complained daily that the machine was not operating properly, demonstrated that his injuries were not the result of any manufacturing or design defect, but rather the result of a failure by May Ship Repair to maintain and repair the crane after its purchase in 1998, approximately 23 years after it was manufactured.

Mr. Wilensky offered an expert affidavit which detailed the testimony of Grove Crane’s manager of public safety who had specific knowledge of the crane involved in the accident, and was able to discuss the specific maintenance needs of the crane in question, including the need to monitor and provide on-going maintenance to the crane’s hydraulic jacks. The expert’s testimony was bolstered by the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, in which he described specific on-going problems with the crane related to the hydraulic jacks, and the failure of May Ship Repair to address the plaintiff’s routine complaints to his supervisors regarding the same. 

Although the plaintiffs made several last-minute procedural attempts seeking to support their claims against Grove Crane, the Court properly found that they had failed to rebut Grove Crane’s prima facie showing of its right to judgment as a matter of law, and dismissed the complaint and any cross claims against Mr. Wilensky’s client, Grove Crane.

For more infomation about Mr. Wilensky, please see his biography here on www.schnader.com.