Partner Peter Urreta obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims against the defendant distributor of a meat grinder in Khusenov v. Prokraft Inc. and Pro-Cut, which was venued in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  Mr. Khusenov sustained an amputation injury to his arm while using a Pro-Cut KG 32 Meat Grinder while in the course of his employment as a butcher's apprentice.  The meat grinder was designed with a permanently affixed safety guard, which had been removed by a fellow employee.  While using this grinder, Mr. Khusenov’s arm was pulled into it, resulting in a severe mangling injury to his right hand and forearm which had to be amputated at the elbow. Plaintiff alleges that the meat grinder was defective and that "the defect" was the substantial factor in the plaintiff's injury.  Khusenov claimed under strict products liability, alleging, among other things, a defective design and failure to warn.     

We argued that, as supported by our liability expert, the subject meat grinder was safe and met all applicable safety and warning label standards.  Specifically, the grinder was equipped with a permanently affixed, non-removable guard to prevent a user’s hand from entering the opening where the meat would be inserted and stickers warning of the hazard.  The witnesses testified that the plaintiff’s coworkers first used a hammer and then a motorized saw to cut off the permanent metal guard.  Plaintiff variously maintained that: a safety interlock was also required; an emergency stop button should have been present; and that the warnings were inadequate.

The judge on this case had stated that any motion for summary judgment would be denied since in this products liability centered case, a "battle of the experts" would result, thereby creating a question of fact sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion.  Thus, we pivoted and focused on precluding the testimony of the plaintiff's expert pursuant to a Daubert challenge and thereby avoiding this result.  Partner Joe Redd conducted a devastating deposition of the plaintiff’s expert, thus setting this matter up for a Daubert challenge on our motion for summary judgment.  In deciding the motion, the judge agreed with our expert’s assessment of the safety of the grinder and struck down almost all of the findings and conclusions of the plaintiff’s expert as “junk science.”  The court granted our motion and dismissed the case in its entirety.