899 F.3d 505 (8th Cir. 2018), 17-1925, Oppedahl v. Mobile Drill International, Inc.

Docket Nº:17-1925
Citation:899 F.3d 505
Opinion Judge:SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Jeffery Allen OPPEDAHL; Angela Marie Oppedahl, Next friend WTO Next friend MJO Next friend SMO, Plaintiffs-Appellants v. MOBILE DRILL INTERNATIONAL, INC., also known as Mobile Drill, L.L.C., formerly known as Mobile Drill Company, Inc., Defendant-Appellee Central Mine Equipment Company; USExploration Equipment Company; Navistar, Inc., formerly...
Attorney:Counsel who appeared on the brief and presented argument on behalf of the appellants was Marc A. Humphrey, of Des Moines, IA. The following attorney(s) appeared on the appellant brief; Timm W. Reid, of Des Moines, IA. Counsel who appeared on the brief and presented argument on behalf of the appel...
Judge Panel:Before SHEPHERD, MELLOY, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 07, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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899 F.3d 505 (8th Cir. 2018)

Jeffery Allen OPPEDAHL; Angela Marie Oppedahl, Next friend WTO Next friend MJO Next friend SMO, Plaintiffs-Appellants

v.

MOBILE DRILL INTERNATIONAL, INC., also known as Mobile Drill, L.L.C., formerly known as Mobile Drill Company, Inc., Defendant-Appellee

Central Mine Equipment Company; USExploration Equipment Company; Navistar, Inc., formerly known as International Truck and Engine Corporation, formerly known as International Harvester Co., Defendants.

No. 17-1925

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 7, 2018

Submitted: May 16, 2018

Page 506

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa— Des Moines

Counsel who appeared on the brief and presented argument on behalf of the appellants was Marc A. Humphrey, of Des Moines, IA. The following attorney(s) appeared on the appellant brief; Timm W. Reid, of Des Moines, IA.

Counsel who appeared on the brief and presented argument on behalf of the appellee was Joseph A. Happe, of Des Moines, IA. The following attorney(s) appeared on the appellee brief; Elizabeth R. Meyer, of Des Moines, IA., Sarah Franklin, of Des Moines, IA.

Before SHEPHERD, MELLOY, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Jeffery Oppedahl was injured in a gruesome accident involving a truck-mounted

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drill and auger1 that left him a quadriplegic. Oppedahl, his wife, and his children (collectively "Plaintiffs") sued Mobile Drill Company, Inc. ("Mobile Drill"), the manufacturer of the drill and auger. As relevant to this appeal, the district court2 first dismissed Plaintiffs’ strict products liability and negligence claims involving the drill, as well as those related consortium claims. The court then granted summary judgment to Mobile Drill on Plaintiffs’ negligent entrustment claim involving the auger and the related consortium claims. Plaintiffs appeal. We now affirm.

I. Background

Oppedahl was an experienced drill operator who worked for the Iowa Department of Transportation ("IDOT"). On January 16, 2013, Oppedahl was taking soil samples and became entangled in an unguarded rotating auger that was attached to a truck-mounted drill. The auger Oppedahl was using was first put into operation in 1990. IDOT later refurbished the auger and put it back into operation on or after August 5, 1999. The auger system did not have a safety cage or safety switches, which, according to Plaintiffs, could have prevented the accident.

On August 5, 2014, Plaintiffs filed an 11-count complaint and jury demand against the truck manufacturer, Navistar, Inc., and, because it was initially unclear who manufactured the auger involved in the accident, against three auger manufacturers: Mobile Drill, USExploration Equipment Company ("USExploration"), and Central Mine Equipment Company ("Central Mine"). The district court granted summary judgment to Navistar and dismissed it as a defendant, finding Iowa’s statute of repose barred Plaintiffs from bringing products liability actions against Navistar.

USExploration later filed a motion for summary judgment, presenting both USExploration’s and IDOT’s records that showed it only sold IDOT three-and-a-half-inch augers, and the auger involved in the accident was a five-and-a-half-inch auger. Plaintiffs did not resist the motion. The district court held even if Plaintiffs had resisted the motion, there was no genuine dispute of material fact and USExploration was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The district court then dismissed USExploration as a defendant.

After determining that the augers potentially involved in the accident did not have any of the three unique manufacturing characteristics of Central Mine augers, the parties jointly submitted a stipulation of dismissal of Central Mine as a defendant. Thus, Mobile Drill is the only remaining defendant.

In the complaint, Plaintiffs alleged causes of action for strict products liability, negligence related to the sale of the drill, negligence related to the sale of the auger under an alternative liability theory3, loss of spousal consortium, and loss of parental

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consortium. Mobile Drill moved to dismiss the complaint, and the district court dismissed Plaintiffs strict liability and negligence claims related to the sale of the drill because Iowas statute of repose had run, barring recovery. As a result, the district court also dismissed the related loss of consortium claims. However, the court found that Plaintiffs had sufficiently stated a claim for negligence related to the sale of the auger under an alternative liability...

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