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Leone v. BMI Refractory Services, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 22, 2018

Filippo Leone; Anna Leone, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
BMI Refractory Services, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: April 24, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:15-cv-11542-Sean F. Cox, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          MARK GRANZOTTO, MARK GRANZOTTO, PC, BERKLEY, MICHIGAN, FOR APPELLANTS.

          MICHAEL D. BRYANT, WARD ANDERSON PORRITT BRYANT & LORD, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICHIGAN, FOR APPELLEE.

         ON BRIEF:

          MARK GRANZOTTO, MARK GRANZOTTO, PC, BERKLEY, MICHIGAN, JEFFREY T. MEYERS, JUSTIN J. HAKALA, MORGAN & MEYERS PLC, DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, FOR APPELLANTS.

          MICHAEL D. BRYANT, WARD ANDERSON PORRITT BRYANT & LORD, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICHIGAN, FOR APPELLEE.

          Before: GILMAN, COOK, and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          COOK, Circuit Judge.

         This appeal concerns the duty of care a contractor owes to a third party under Michigan tort law. When a piece of scrap metal seriously injured Filippo Leone while he was on the job, he sued the contractor that his employer had hired to clear the debris. Sitting in diversity, the district court granted summary judgment to the contractor, deciding that the contractor owed no duty of care to Leone because it created no new hazard. Leone and his wife timely appeal, arguing that the court interpreted Michigan law too narrowly. We agree, and REVERSE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         The events giving rise to this suit transpired inside a degasser, a large vat that Leone's employer, A.K. Steel, used to extract gas impurities from molten steel. Over twenty-four feet deep, with an interior diameter greater than eight feet, it was lined with layers of brick; the innermost layer-called the face brick-deteriorates with use and requires occasional replacement. The degasser's components include ...


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