Plaintiff purchased an aluminum ladder at his local Home Depot in September 2003. In 2006, Plaintiff fell while using the ladder when one of the legs "folded." In 2008, Plaintiff filed suit against Home Depot and Warner Company.
Plaintiff alleged that the ladder was defective and unreasonably dangerous. The ladder company, Warner, filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the ladder was not defective in design, manufacture or materials. Home Depot also filed a motion for summary judgment and attached evidentiary materials from an expert stating that there was no defect in the ladder.
In response to the motions for summary judgment, Plaintiff said he was competent to express an opinion concerning the allegedly defective design of the ladder. Plaintiff asserted that he was not obligated to produce expert testimony in support of his opinion concerning the existence of a defect.
The trial court granted summary judgment for the ladder company and Home Depot, finding that Plaintiff failed to file sufficient evidentiary material to rebut the expert reports submitted by the Defendants. Plaintiff appealed.
The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the summary judgment for the Defendants:
1) when Warner and Home Depot came forward with expert testimony to demonstrate no defect in the ladder, Plaintiff was required to come forward with some evidence to rebut this expert opinion;
2) Plaintiff had no special engineering or other expertise to express an opinion on the issue of design or manufacturing defects;
3) Plaintiff’s bald assertion that the ladder failed because of an alleged defect was insufficient to overcome the expert evidence provided by the defendants.
Doyle v. New Warner Holding Company, Inc., 2013 OK CIV APP 66, ___ P.3d ___