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ANTHOLZNER v. KEY TRONIC CORP.

September 12, 1997

JUDITH ANTHOLZNER, and RONALD ANTHOLZNER, Plaintiffs,
v.
KEY TRONIC CORPORATION, LOCKHEED CORPORATION a/k/a DELAWARE LOCKHEED, ONTEL CORPORATION, VISUAL TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED, Individually and as Successor to ONTEL CORPORATION, Defendants.


LESLIE G. FOSCHIO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOSCHIO

LESLIE G. FOSCHIO

 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

 JURISDICTION

 This matter was referred to the undersigned by the Hon. John T. Curtin on October 4, 1995 for report and recommendation on any dispositive motions. The matter is presently before the court on Defendants Ontel Corporation and Visual Technology Incorporated's motion for summary judgment, filed January 22, 1997; Defendant Key Tronic Corporation's motion for summary judgment, filed January 24, 1997; and Defendant Lockheed Corporation's motion for summary judgment, filed January 31, 1997.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiffs, Judith Antholzner and Richard Antholzner, filed this diversity action on February 7, 1994. Plaintiff Judith Antholzner alleges that she suffered personal injuries during the course of her employment at the New York Telephone Company from the period beginning June 18, 1990 until the time of the filing of the complaint. Plaintiff's position required her to utilize an Ontel Keyboard Model OP-1/15, manufactured by Key Tronic Corporation and distributed by Lockheed Corporation. Plaintiff contends that the use of the computer keyboard in question caused her to suffer a cumulative trauma injury.

 On January 22, 1997, Ontel Corporation, and Visual Technology Incorporation filed a motion for summary judgment against Plaintiffs on the ground that Plaintiffs' claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, along with a supporting memorandum of law. Key Tronic and Lockheed filed similar motions and memoranda on January 24, 1997 and January 31, 1997, respectively. Plaintiffs filed an affidavit in opposition to Defendants' motions on February 14, 1997. Ontel Corporation and Visual Technology Incorporation filed a reply brief and a reply affidavit in support of their motion on February 21, 1997. No oral argument was deemed necessary.

 For the reasons as set forth below, Defendants' motions for summary judgment should be DENIED.

 FACTS

 Judith Antholzner began working at the New York Telephone Company in Lockport, New York on June 18, 1991. Antholzner was employed as a directory assistance operator, working approximately five days per week, seven hours per day. Antholzner's job duties included inputting and retrieving information from a computer system, utilizing an Ontel keyboard, manufactured by Key Tronic, and distributed by Lockheed.

 Antholzner first began experiencing symptoms of repetitive stress injuries, such as numbness and tingling, in December, 1991. Antholzner was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in September, 1993. Antholzer filed a written accident report with the New York Telephone Company relating to her injuries in September, 1993, and, at that time, began to take the prescription drug Relafen to control the swelling and stiffness. In November, 1993, Antholzer began taking Relafen on an as needed basis because she experienced some side effects from the drug. On January 6, 1995, Antholzer underwent surgery, a right carpal tunnel release. Antholzer did not work from January 6, 1995 until March 6, 1995, at which time she was able to return to her job. Antholzer has used bilateral wrist braces to support her hand and wrist since 1994. According to Antholzer, she continues to suffer from pain, numbness and tingling in her arms, hands, wrists, and fingers, as well as her upper arms.

 DISCUSSION

 Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Defendants contend that as Judith Antholzner's first contact with the computer keyboard at issue in this lawsuit was in 1990, four years prior to the filing of this complaint in February, 1994, Plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed as the complaint was not filed within three years of her first contact with the computer keyboard. Plaintiffs assert, however, that the statute of limitations period did not begin to run until Antholzner began to experience symptoms of her injuries in December, 1991, and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel ...


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