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SMITH v. E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO.

March 30, 2004.

MATTHEW D. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff, v. O'CONNELL ELECTRIC CO., Third Party Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM SKRETNY, District Judge

DECISION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case, Plaintiff Matthew D. Smith alleges that he was injured as a result of the negligent and unlawful conduct of Defendant E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. ("DuPont"). Specifically, Plaintiff contends that DuPont is liable for injuries that he sustained while performing electrical work at a DuPont plant located in Buffalo, New York. Currently before this Court are motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff and DuPont.

  II. BACKGROUND

  A. Facts

  The following facts are undisputed for purposes of the present motions. DuPont is a science and technology company based in Delaware and authorized to do business in New York. In April of 2000, DuPont entered into a contract with O'Connell Electric Company, a New York corporation that specializes in electrical work. . (DuPont's Rule 56 Statement, ¶ 1). Under the terms of that contract, O'Connell agreed to perform electrical work at a DuPont plant located in Buffalo, New York ("the DuPont plant"). Id.

  At the times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was employed by O'Connell as an apprentice electrician. (Plaintiff's Rule 56 Statement, ¶ 1). On May 4, 2000, Plaintiff was installing electrical ducts at the DuPont plant. (DuPont's Rule 56 Statement at ¶ 16). During the course of the day, Plaintiff generally worked from the first or second step of a ten-foot step ladder provided by O'Connell. Id. at ¶¶ 17,18. When he was working on the second step and wanted to descend, Plaintiff stepped directly from the second step onto the floor. Id. at ¶ 19.

  At approximately 2:50 p.m., Plaintiff ascended to the fourth or fifth step of his ladder to take a measurement. Id. at ¶ 20. While Plaintiff was standing on the fourth or fifth step, a tape measure that he had clipped to the front of his pants pocket fell to the ground. Id. at 21. Mistakenly believing that he was still on the first or second step, Plaintiff attempted to step directly off of the ladder onto the ground. Id. at ¶ 22. As a result, Plaintiff toppled off of the ladder, struck the ground, and injured his chin, left elbow, and right wrist. Id. at ¶ 24.

  B. Procedural History

  Plaintiff commenced this action on May 16, 2001, by filing a Summons and Complaint in New York State Supreme Court, County of Erie. On June 26, 2001, DuPont removed the action to the United States District Court for the Western District of New York by filing a Notice of Removal.

  On March 22, 2002, DuPont filed a Third Party Complaint, seeking indemnification and contribution from O'Connell, Plaintiff's employer. Subsequently, DuPont and O'Connell reached a settlement agreement and this Court filed an order dismissing the Third Party Complaint on March 25, 2004. As such, the only claims remaining in this case are those asserted by Plaintiff against DuPont.

  On March 14, 2003, DuPont filed a Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff filed a Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on April 11, 2003. This Court heard oral argument on June 4, 2003, and reserved decision at that time.

  ...


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