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Barry v. Quality Steel Products, Inc

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Brief Fact Summary.

Workers fall from an elevated platform, manufactured by the Defendant and assembled by workers.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A plaintiff will be held negligent if his act was both the proximate cause and actual cause of a plaintiff’s injury, in proportion to the share his negligence contributed to plaintiff’s injury.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

The doctrine of superseding cause has been abolished by our Supreme Court in cases wherein a defendant claims that its tortious conduct is superseded by a subsequent negligent act or there are multiple acts of negligence.

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Plaintiffs were employed as carpenters and working on a job involving placing shingles on a roof. They were elevated on a  platform, designed by Defendant, which collapsed resulting in their injuries.

Defendant’s instructions on the product suggest using sixteenpenny nails to attach the brackets; whereas, Defendant’s introduced evidence that Plaintiffs used eightpenny nails to attach brackets. It could not be determined, however, which size nail was used on the specific brackets a involved with Plaintiffs’ fall.

Expert testimony was introduced by Defendants that employer failed to use proper OSHA fall protection; however, an independent investigation by OSHA concluded the employer did not violate its recommendations.

Through the jury’s interrogatories, it found the brackets sold by Defendant were defective, unreasonably dangerous, and the proximate cause of Defendants’ injury.


Whether the intervening,superseding cause – particularly (1) employer’s failure to use proper fall protection and (2) supervisor’s use of the wrong size nail in attaching brackets – severed the liability of Defendant?


No, neither superseding causes broke the chain of proximate causation; further, the doctrine of superseding cause no longer serves this court’s jurisprudence when a defendant claims an intervening act by a third party broke the chain of proximate causation.

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