United States District Court, E.D. New York
For the Plaintiff: Michael P. Vessa, Esq., Philip Michael Vessa, Esq., Of Counsel, Vessa & Wilensky, PC, Uniondale, NY.
For the Defendant: Steven R. Kramer, Esq., Of Counsel, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, White Plains, NY.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.
On June 27, 2011, the Plaintiff James Dwyer (the " Plaintiff" ) commenced this product liability action against the Defendant General Motors LLC (the " Defendant" ). The Plaintiff asserts claims for design defect, manufacturing defect, malfunction, express warranty, implied warranty and failure to warn in connection with the serious injuries he received as the result of an accident involving a shock absorber manufactured by the Defendant.
Presently before the Court is the Defendant's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) 56 motion for summary judgment on the ground of spoliation of evidence and three motions in limine. As to the motions in limine, the Court denies these motions without prejudice with leave to refile just prior to or right after jury selection in this case. As to the motion for summary judgment, the Defendant seeks dismissal of this action or, in the alternative, exclusion of the Plaintiff's witness from testifying at trial. For the reasons that follow, the Defendant's motion is denied, but the Court, its discretion, imposes lesser sanctions against the Plaintiff.
The Court will only briefly recount the underlying facts of this case before proceeding to a discussion of those facts which are relevant to the resolution of the Defendant's instant motion. The Court notes that it views the facts in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, as the non-moving party.
A. Underlying Facts
The Plaintiff is a thirty-year experienced A-rated automotive technician that works at one of the Defendant's car dealerships, East Hills Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Inc., located in Douglaston, New York. On March 16, 2010, a customer brought his 2008 Chevrolet Suburban (the " Suburban" ) to the dealership where the Plaintiff worked on the car and, on that same date, the Plaintiff replaced both the left and the right front shock absorbers.
Thereafter, on April 26, 2010, the customer returned to the dealership with his Suburban due to its supposed " harsh ride" and because the suspension service light was illuminated. The Plaintiff did not replace the left shock absorber, but instead, inspected it. He then ordered a strut reinforcement part.
One month later, on May 24, 2010, the customer again brought his Suburban back to the dealership because the suspension service light was illuminated. The next day, May 25, 2010, while repairing the Suburban's left front shock absorber, the Plaintiff was injured. In this regard, allegedly, the shock absorber exploded off the Suburban and amputated a portion of the Plaintiff's ring finger on his dominant left hand. The incident also resulted in damage to the concrete floor. No one witnessed the incident ...