472 N.E.2d 707 (Ohio 1984), 84-281, Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc.

Docket Nº:84-281.
Citation:472 N.E.2d 707, 15 Ohio St.3d 75
Opinion Judge:HOLMES, J.
Party Name:MENIFEE, Admx., Appellant, v. OHIO WELDING PRODUCTS, INC. et al., Appellees.
Attorney:Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A., Stanley M. Chesley and Kenneth G. Hawley, Cincinnati, for appellant., Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis and Edward R. Goldman, Cincinnati, for appellee Ohio Welding Products, Inc., Bloom & Greene Co., L.P.A., Gordon C. Greene, Michael D. Eagen and Lawre...
Judge Panel:SWEENEY, LOCHER, CLIFFORD F. BROWN and JAMES P. CELEBREZZE, JJ., concur.
Case Date:December 31, 1984
Court:Supreme Court of Ohio

Page 707

472 N.E.2d 707 (Ohio 1984)

15 Ohio St.3d 75

MENIFEE, Admx., Appellant,

v.

OHIO WELDING PRODUCTS, INC. et al., Appellees.

No. 84-281.

Supreme Court of Ohio.

December 31, 1984

Page 708

Syllabus by the Court

Under strict tort liability principles for the design of a product, a manufacturer need not anticipate all uses to which its product may be put, nor guarantee that the product is incapable of causing injury in all of its possible uses.

This appeal surrounds the death of appellant's decedent, William L. Menifee, from the inhalation of nitrogen gas while in the course of his employment at General Electric Company (hereinafter "General Electric").

The record establishes that the decedent was employed by General Electric to clean transformers and other equipment by using a pressurized stream of aluminum oxide. In addition to compressed air, nitrogen was used in the cleaning process. Liquid nitrogen was stored in a bulk tank and piped to the location where the cleaning took place. The compressed air and nitrogen were released

Page 709

through the same outlet in the grit blast building in which Menifee was working, and the flow of each substance was controlled by certain valves within a system of pipes intended to prevent the nitrogen from mixing with the compressed air.

On the day of the accident, the decedent was wearing a mask and receiving air to breathe from the compressed air supply line. However, the compressor overheated and automatically shut off and, thereafter, the valve system somehow allowed the nitrogen to enter his air supply. Menifee died four days later as a result of oxygen deprivation. Appellant, Ernestine Menifee, administratrix of the estate of William Menifee, subsequently filed this wrongful death action naming several defendants based on the following facts.

In November 1976, the management of General Electric had decided to expand its facilities due to additional sales and maintenance burdens associated therewith. General Electric entered into a contract with appellee KZF Incorporated, an architectural firm, for the design of the grit blast building and air supply lines which would extend from the existing facility to the new building.

General Electric thereafter contracted with appellee J & F Harig Company to erect the building and air system as designed. In turn, the construction of the system was subcontracted to appellee Peck, Hannaford [15 Ohio St.3d 76] & Briggs Co. After the system's completion, General Electric contacted appellee Ohio Welding Products, Inc. for installation of a nitrogen gas holding tank and distribution system. The actual mounting, connecting and valving of the nitrogen gas system were performed by appellees A.L. Miller and A.L. Miller Plumbing, Inc. The air compressor was manufactured by appellee Cooper Industries, Inc. and obtained from appellee Highway Rental Equipment Company, Inc.

The building and air system were completed on or about April 27, 1978. It is evident from a review of the record that all work was performed in the manner specified by General Electric. In addition, it is important to note that General Electric did not inform any of the appellees that the compressed air would be used for breathing purposes.

The complaint filed on behalf of the appellant sounds in negligence and strict tort liability. Appellant alleges that Menifee died as a proximate result of the combined and concurrent acts by appellees who should have foreseen their consequences. The trial court granted summary judgment as to all appellees on the basis that no liability existed due to the lack of knowledge that the compressed air was used for breathing purposes. The court of appeals affirmed this ruling.

The cause is now before this court pursuant to the allowance of a motion to certify the record.

Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A., Stanley M. Chesley and Kenneth G. Hawley, Cincinnati, for appellant.

Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis and Edward R. Goldman, Cincinnati, for appellee Ohio Welding Products, Inc.

Bloom & Greene Co., L.P.A., Gordon C. Greene, Michael D. Eagen and Lawrence A. Flemer, Cincinnati, for appellees A.L. Miller and A.L. Miller Plumbing, Inc.

Wood & Lamping and Robert G. Burkhart, Cincinnati, for appellee J & F Harig Co.

Strauss, Troy & Ruehlmann Co., L.P.A., Douglas G. Cole and Alan C. Rosser, Cincinnati, for appellees KZF Inc. and Peck, Hannaford & Briggs Co.

Benjamin, Faulkner, Tepe & Sack,...

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1528 practice notes
  • 782 F.2d 585 (6th Cir. 1986), 84-3874, Briney v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • January 28, 1986
    ...hazards; (2) breach of that duty; and (3) injury, which was proximately caused by the breach. Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc., 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 472 N.E.2d 707 (1984). A product need not be "accident or foolproof, but safe for the use for which it was intended." Gossett......
  • 515 N.E.2d 8 (Ohio App. 12 Dist. 1986), CA85-06-071, Singleton v. City of Hamilton
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • June 16, 1986
    ...breach of duty, (3) proximate causation, and (4) injury resulting from the duty's breach. Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 15 OBR 179, 180, 472 N.E.2d 707, 710. II The Ohio Supreme Court has generally abolished sovereign immunity for municipal corporation......
  • 523 N.E.2d 489 (Ohio 1988), 87-202, State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Chrysler Corp.
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • May 18, 1988
    ...a judgment in accordance with law. Manufacturers are not insurers of their products. See Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 15 OBR 179, 472 N.E.2d 707, syllabus. In the absence of direct proof of a [37 Ohio St.3d 9] specific defect, plaintiffs sought to show by......
  • 524 N.E.2d 168 (Ohio 1988), 87-912, Great Cent. Ins. Co. v. Tobias
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 8, 1988
    ...reasonably be anticipated does the defendant owe him a duty of care." Id. See, also, Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 15 OBR 179, 180, 472 N.E.2d 707, 710. All the elements of actionable negligence are present in this case. Appellant provided the dec......
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1527 cases
  • 782 F.2d 585 (6th Cir. 1986), 84-3874, Briney v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • January 28, 1986
    ...hazards; (2) breach of that duty; and (3) injury, which was proximately caused by the breach. Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc., 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 472 N.E.2d 707 (1984). A product need not be "accident or foolproof, but safe for the use for which it was intended." Gossett......
  • 515 N.E.2d 8 (Ohio App. 12 Dist. 1986), CA85-06-071, Singleton v. City of Hamilton
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals of Ohio
    • June 16, 1986
    ...breach of duty, (3) proximate causation, and (4) injury resulting from the duty's breach. Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 15 OBR 179, 180, 472 N.E.2d 707, 710. II The Ohio Supreme Court has generally abolished sovereign immunity for municipal corporation......
  • 523 N.E.2d 489 (Ohio 1988), 87-202, State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Chrysler Corp.
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • May 18, 1988
    ...a judgment in accordance with law. Manufacturers are not insurers of their products. See Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 15 OBR 179, 472 N.E.2d 707, syllabus. In the absence of direct proof of a [37 Ohio St.3d 9] specific defect, plaintiffs sought to show by......
  • 524 N.E.2d 168 (Ohio 1988), 87-912, Great Cent. Ins. Co. v. Tobias
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 8, 1988
    ...reasonably be anticipated does the defendant owe him a duty of care." Id. See, also, Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 15 OBR 179, 180, 472 N.E.2d 707, 710. All the elements of actionable negligence are present in this case. Appellant provided the dec......
  • Free signup to view additional results