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GRAY v. CLEANING SYS. & SUPPLIERS

October 25, 1993

JAMES GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
CLEANING SYSTEMS AND SUPPLIERS, INC., Defendants, TRANS-CARRIER TRUCK LINES and GEORGIA-PACIFIC CORPORATION, Third-Party Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK

 VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.

 I

 This is a personal injury suit brought by the plaintiff James Gray ("plaintiff" or "Gray"), a truck driver who was hurt when heavy paper products fell during unloading of the truck. The case presents a classic dilemma which arises when a workplace injury covered by workers' compensation occurs, but one or more third parties may be wholly or partly responsible for the accident, leading to suits by the worker against the third party or parties, attempts by the latter to claim over against the employer and additional further cross-claims. See, e.g., National Casualty Co v. City of Poughkeepsie, 812 F. Supp. 439, 441 n 3 (1993).

 Very quickly, and quite possibly here, the legal expenses begin to approach the amount in dispute. See generally Taft, The Delays of the Law, 18 Yale LJ 28 (1908). As this occurs, a tendency for each party to dig in so as to justify the expenses already incurred may make settlement more difficult at the very time when it most beneficial to all parties. *fn1"

 The result is often profoundly contrary to the objectives the courts are instructed to seek in Fed.R.Civ.P. 1 (the "just, speedy and inexpensive" adjudication of the action), and presents an important challenge to the judiciary in determining how to proceed both fairly and expeditiously. *fn2"

 II

 The motions before me present questions of the tort liability of -

 (a) the defendant Trans-Carrier Truck Lines (the "employer") which is the driver's out-of-state employer and which provided workers' compensation coverage to the driver, and

 (b) the defendant Georgia-Pacific Corporation (the "shipper"), which ordered the merchandise which caused the injury to be sent to its loading dock.

 The plaintiff originally sued only the defendant Cleaning Systems and Suppliers, Inc., (the "customer") which ordered the goods and their shipment; the customer thereafter filed third party complaints against the employer and the shipper, and the shipper also filed a cross-claim against the employer seeking indemnity. Jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship pursuant to 28 USC 1332.

 The employer and shipper have moved for summary judgment dismissing the customer's third party cross complaints. *fn3"

 I grant the employer's motion for summary judgment to dismiss all claims against it on conditions set forth below. Because of my dismissal of the customer's claim against the employer, the employer's ...


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