487 N.E.2d 424 (Ill.App. 5 Dist. 1985), 5-84-0709, Pipes v. American Logging Tool Corp.

Docket Nº:5-84-0709.
Citation:487 N.E.2d 424, 139 Ill.App.3d 269, 93 Ill.Dec. 757
Party Name:Robert W. PIPES, Plaintiff, v. AMERICAN LOGGING TOOL CORPORATION, Defendant. AMERICAN LOGGING TOOL CORPORATION, Third Party Plaintiff-Appellee v. Jerry NELSON, Third Party Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 20, 1985
Court:Court of Appeals of Illinois
 
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Page 424

487 N.E.2d 424 (Ill.App. 5 Dist. 1985)

139 Ill.App.3d 269, 93 Ill.Dec. 757

Robert W. PIPES, Plaintiff,

v.

AMERICAN LOGGING TOOL CORPORATION, Defendant.

AMERICAN LOGGING TOOL CORPORATION, Third Party Plaintiff-Appellee

v.

Jerry NELSON, Third Party Defendant-Appellant.

No. 5-84-0709.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District.

December 20, 1985.

Page 425

[139 Ill.App.3d 270] [93 Ill.Dec. 758] James P. Leonard, Thompson & Mitchell, Belleville, for third party defendant-appellant.

James E. Gorman, Reed, Armstrong, Gorman & Coffey, Edwardsville, for third party plaintiff-appellee.

KARNS, Justice:

Plaintiff Robert Pipes brought an action against American Logging Tool Corporation (American) for injuries he suffered as a result of the use of an allegedly defective load binder manufactured and distributed by American. A contribution claim was brought by American against John Entwistle and appellant Jerry Nelson. The case proceeded to trial. At the close of the evidence but before the case was submitted to a jury, American settled with the plaintiff for $1.3 million. The contribution claim against Entwistle and Nelson was decided by the jury, who found in favor of Entwistle but assessed appellant Nelson's fault at 10%. Nelson appeals from a judgment against him for $130,000.

The evidence adduced at trial showed that Pipes was injured in the course of his employment with Clyde Dial Construction Company (also a third party defendant who was granted a directed verdict). [139 Ill.App.3d 271] Nelson and Entwistle, both employed by Nelson's construction company, were working in the Clyde Dial yard at the time of the accident. They were loading a gasoline storage tank onto a lowboy truck, utilizing American's load binder, along with an attached "cheater pipe", to secure the tank. During the loading operation, Pipes helped Nelson and Entwistle in locking down the load binder. Somehow, the handle was released and the pipe struck Pipes in the face, resulting in injuries causing total blindness.

Pipes charged American with negligence and strict liability. American's third party complaint alleged negligence on the part of Entwistle, Nelson, and Pipes' employer, specifically averring that Nelson and Entwistle committed various negligent acts in using the load binder, including failing to secure the attached pipe and exerting excessive force on the load binder in their loading operation. Nelson and Entwistle denied any negligence and filed several affirmative defenses, two of which form the basis of this appeal.

First, the third party defendants claimed that American marketed an unreasonably dangerous product and was therefore strictly and solely liable for injuries resulting from its use, and second, the defendants alleged that American's misconduct was wilful and wanton. In response to special interrogatories submitted by the defendants, which addressed each of these

Page 426

[93 Ill.Dec. 759] defenses, the jury found affirmatively on both issues. Nelson argues on appeal that the finding against American on the affirmative defenses destroys its right to contribution.

The Contribution Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 70, par. 301 et seq.) provides that " * *...

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