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SMITH v. IBM

September 22, 1995

PAMELA SMITH, et al., Plaintiffs, against INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENIS R. HURLEY

 APPEARANCES: *fn1"

 HURLEY, District Judge

 Presently pending before the Court, in the above-captioned so-called repetitive stress injury ("RSI") case, is a Motion for Summary Judgment by Canon U.S.A., Incorporated ("Canon") *fn2" on the ground that the claims of Plaintiff Judith Claveloux ("Claveloux") are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. For the reasons set forth below, Canon's motion is granted.

 DISCUSSION

 A motion for summary judgment may be granted only when it is shown "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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd. of Fire Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1987); Winant v. Carefree Pools, 709 F. Supp. 57, 59 (E.D.N.Y.), aff'd 891 F.2d 278 (2d Cir. 1989). The party seeking summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion," and identifying which materials "it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; see also Trebor Sportswear Co., Inc. v. The Limited Stores, Inc., 865 F.2d 506, 511 (2d Cir. 1989); Pariente v. Scott Meredith Literary Agency, Inc., 771 F. Supp. 609, 612 (S.D.N.Y. 1991). The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts which are material, and "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 Once the moving party has come forward with support demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact remains to be tried, including pleadings, depositions, interrogatory answers, and affidavits, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to provide similar support setting forth specific facts about which a genuine triable issue remains. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250; Borthwick v. First Georgetown Sec., Inc., 892 F.2d 178, 181 (2d Cir. 1989); Donahue, 834 F.2d at 57. The court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Donahue, 834 F.2d at 57.

 "The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphases omitted). Moreover, "conclusory allegations will not suffice to create a genuine issue. There must be more than a 'scintilla of evidence,' and more than 'some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'" Delaware & Hudson Ry. Co. v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 902 F.2d 174, 178 (2d Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 500 U.S. 928, 114 L. Ed. 2d 125, 111 S. Ct. 2041 (1991) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, and Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986)); see also Carey v. Crescenzi, 923 F.2d 18, 21 (2d Cir. 1991). "The non-movant cannot escape summary judgment merely by vaguely asserting the existence of some unspecified disputed materials facts, . . . or defeat the motion through mere speculation or conjecture." Western World Ins. Co. v. Stack Oil, Inc., 922 F.2d 118, 121 (2d Cir. 1990) (citations and internal quotations omitted). With the above principles in mind, the Court turns to a discussion of the case at bar.

 I. Claims by Claveloux against Canon

 The Complaint in the above-captioned case -- based upon alleged "repetitive stress injuries" suffered by the plaintiffs -- was filed on April 15, 1993. It sets forth two theories for recovery by Claveloux, negligence and strict products liability. (See Compl. PP 152-67.) It contains, inter alia, the following allegations:

 
Plaintiff Judith Claveloux is a citizen of the State of Virginia.

 (Compl. P 1.)

 
At all relevant times, plaintiff Judith Claveloux used in the course of her employment certain cash register and scanner supermarket checkout equipment and other related equipment which was manufactured, designed, sold and/or distributed by defendants International Business Machines Corporation and Cannon [sic] USA, Inc.

 (Compl. P 25.)

 
On or about and between August 1970, until present, and at all times thereafter, plaintiff Judith Claveloux was employed as a cashier by Giant Food, Maledale, Dale City, Virginia.

 (Compl. P 73.)

 
On or about and between April 1977, until present, and at all times thereafter, while employed as a cashier/scanner by Giant Food, plaintiff Judith Claveloux used adding machine equipment manufactured by Cannon [sic] USA, Inc. . . . .

 (Compl. P 76.)

 
Plaintiff Judith Claveloux's repetitive stress injuries were insidious in their onset and, accordingly, it is not possible to identify precisely the precise date of the onset of symptoms. Nor is it possible at this point to state that any initial symptoms experienced constituted the full manifestation or even a partial manifestation of each or any of the injuries that plaintiff ultimately sustained, or continues to sustain. Nonetheless, on or about Spring of 1982, plaintiff began to experience some symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain and/or sensory motor impairments of the upper extremities, neck and torso, with additional and new symptoms and injuries experienced thereafter.

 (Compl. P 133.)

 
On or about February 1991, plaintiff Judith Claveloux received the diagnosis of right ...

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