Maintenance Provider Held Responsible for Hoist Snapping
Faulty Equipment Speaks for Itself
The injured: Don worked on the automobile hood assembly line at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant. His job involved using a hoist to transfer the outer shell of vehicle hoods. On one occasion, the hoist snapped and a hood fell on Don, injuring his shoulder.
The Facts of the Case
Toyota had a contract with a third party to inspect and maintain various equipment in the plant, including cables, lines, switches and ropes. Between these monthly inspections, Toyota performed twice-daily visual inspections A few days after Don’s accident, Toyota discarded the hoist that snapped, making both the wire rope and the hoist unavailable for inspection.
Don filed a lawsuit against the contracted third party, maintaining their negligence in properly maintaining the hoist.
In both the original lawsuit and appeal, the court ruled in Don’s favor, in spite of the fact that the hoist was not available for inspection after the accident. Both courts relied upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor (the thing speaks for itself) in ruling that the hoist would not have broken if it had been properly maintained. Since maintenance was the responsibility of the third party, the failure of the hoist must have been the result of the maintenance contractor’s negligence.
Don won his lawsuit and was able to defend the decision of the lower court by enlisting the help of the attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin.