United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen U.S. Magistrate Judge
AMENDED ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge
filed this negligence suit on April 11, 2014. On October 15,
2015, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt.
#22]. The parties timely briefed the motion [23, 24] and a
hearing was held on April 20, 2016. At the conclusion of the
hearing, the Court took the motion under advisement. During
the hearing, Plaintiffs' counsel asked for, and was
granted, permission to provide the Court with a supplement to
the report prepared by Scott Turner. Plaintiffs filed
Turner's Supplemental Affidavit  on May 17, 2016.
Court issued an Order  on June 9, 2016 in which it denied
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Notwithstanding
the denial, the Court inadvertently included language in its
Order that may be confusing to the parties. This Amended
Order serves to clarify the Court's June 9, 2016 Order
reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment  is, once again, DENIED.
Dillon Transportation, LLC is a transportation company with a
fleet of tractors and trailers. Its fleet includes low-boy
trailers, which are trailers that ride lower to the ground
than others. Low-boy trailers are normally too low to be
loaded or unloaded from a dock. Accordingly, they are
manufactured to include airbags that can be inflated to raise
them to the height of a dock. The inflation of the airbags
causes steel legs to lower and rest upon the axle. The
control for a lowboy trailer's airbag system consists of
a knob that is pulled to inflate the airbags and pushed to
deflate them. The knob is located on the trailer's
exterior, on the middle of the driver's side.
drivers are trained at truck driving school, on the job, and
through Defendant. Their training includes education on how
to operate low-boy trailers. The only driver relevant to this
case, Miguel Urjiles, testified that he received about 30
minutes of training on the operation of low-boy trailers when
hired in 2004. He testified that he received no further
training on their operation before the incident at issue in
this case. Plaintiffs' expert, Scott Turner, opined that
the inflation system is simple and that adequate training on
it could be completed within fifteen to thirty minutes.
Paul Goodman was working for Defendant on April 26, 2012. On
that date, he used a forklift to unload a low-boy trailer
driven by Urjiles. To prepare the trailer for unloading,
Urjiles pulled the knob to inflate the trailer's airbags.
He testified that he watched the inflation process from the
side of the trailer, saw the legs come to rest upon the axle,
and heard the sound of rushing air that the system makes when
the legs fall into position. After the airbags inflated, Mr.
Goodman began unloading the trailer with his forklift. He
drove the forklift into and out of the trailer several times
without incident. However, when he began driving it into the
trailer another time, the trailer suddenly fell a distance of
about one foot. Mr. Goodman was injured.
Goodman testified that he did not know whether Urjiles did
anything to cause the fall. He further testified that
Urjiles' actions that day were no different from his
actions on previous days when he had elevated the same
trailer. A third employee, Ashley Ousterhoust, was also in
the vicinity of the trailer at the time of the incident. She
testified that she did not know why the trailer fell or
whether Urjiles did anything to cause the fall.
took the trailer to a mechanic the same day. The mechanic
elevated the trailer several times in Urjiles' presence,
without incident. The mechanic reported to Defendant that
nothing appeared to be wrong with the trailer. There is no
evidence that the trailer ever malfunctioned in a similar way
again, or that it had done so before the incident that
injured Mr. Goodman.
motion for summary judgment, the Court must determine whether
“the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A
genuine issue of material fact exists if “the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The moving party has the
burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of
material fact, which may be accomplished by demonstrating
that the nonmoving party lacks evidence to support an
essential element of its case. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Court must
construe the evidence and all reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The nonmoving party
“may not avoid a properly supported motion for summary
judgment by ...