497 F.2d 897 (2nd Cir. 1974), 487, Wheeler v. Standard Tool & Mfg. Co.

Docket Nº:487, 73-1913.
Citation:497 F.2d 897
Party Name:Elizabeth WHEELER, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. STANDARD TOOL AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:May 20, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 897

497 F.2d 897 (2nd Cir. 1974)

Elizabeth WHEELER, Plaintiff-Appellee,



No. 487, 73-1913.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

May 20, 1974

Argued Feb. 22, 1974.

Allan H. Gordon, Philadelphia, Pa. (Norman J. Landau, New York City, and Edward L. Wolf, Philadelphia, Pa., on the brief), for plaintiff-appellee.

John G. Reilly, New York City (Thomas R. Newman, Benjamin H. Siff, and Reilly & Reilly, New York City, on the brief), for defendant-appellant.

Before LUMBARD, FRIENDLY and TIMBERS, Circuit Judges.

Page 898


This appeal brings up for review a judgment entered in a diversity negligence action now in its fifth year and arising from an accident that occurred more than seven years ago.

The judgment was entered after a bench trial in the Southern District of New York before Kevin T. Duffy, District Judge. It awarded plaintiff $12,500 general damages, plus $872.10 special damages, for personal injuries sustained while plaintiff was operating a hypodermic syringe assembly machine designed and manufactured by defendant.

The accident occurred on December 16, 1966 at the plant located in Canaan, Connecticut, of Becton-Dickinson & Company (Becton) where plaintiff was employed. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was operating one of Becton's machines which had been designed and manufactured by defendant Standard Tool & Manufacturing Company (Standard) at its plant in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, in 1963. The machine was known as a plastic syringe assembly machine. The accident occurred when plaintiff slipped on some waste materials ejected by the machine. As she slipped, she instinctively thrust her right hand forward. This hand became caught in the machine's unguarded needle assembly station. She sustained an injury to her right index finger for which damages were awarded by the district court below.

The theory of plaintiff's action is not one of ordinary negligence, but rather one of strict liability against the manufacturer of a dangerous machine. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A (1965). 1 We hold that Judge Duffy applied the correct choice of law rule in ultimately looking to Connecticut to determine the applicable law of strict liability. And we further hold that he correctly concluded that the Connecticut courts in cases of strict liability...

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