PHILADELPHIA – Now being heard in federal court, the manufacturers of a commercial meat mixer that a Philadelphia man says maimed him on the job have filed defenses against the plaintiff’s litigation, in addition to cross-claims against one another.
On April 10, an answer to Bogdan Jastrzebski and Marianna Jastrzebski’s complaint filed by counsel for MMYB, Inc. (doing business as Daniels Food Equipment) flatly denied all of the plaintiffs’ assertions in their entirety, labeling them as “conclusions of law to which no response is required”, and refused any assertions the meat mixer was designed in a flawed manner.
The response also stated the plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and was barred by the statute of limitations, a number of applicable doctrines and the Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Act.
Further, the complaint response stated, “To the extent the allegations contained in plaintiffs’ complaint are proven to be true, which allegations are expressly denied by MMYB, MMYB asserts that co-defendant Hess Meat Machines, Inc. is jointly and severally liable to plaintiffs, or is liable over to MMYB for contribution and/or indemnification, together with costs, attorneys’ fees and such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.”
MMYB seeks judgment from costs, attorneys’ fees and any such other relief as this Court deems just and proper, from fellow defendant Hess Meat Machines, Inc.
On April 12, counsel for Hess Meat Machines filed a similar complete denial to the plaintiffs’ complaint, saying the opposition’s assertions relate to another named defendant (MMYB) and thus no response was required.
Hess Meat Machines’ answer also sought damages from MMYB and stated, “Answering defendant demands judgment in its favor, by way of the sole liability of the remaining defendants to plaintiff or, in the alternative, by way of contribution and indemnification, along with costs, expenses and attorney’s fees expended in the defense of the matter and prosecution of the cross-claim, and any and all other relief deemed just and proper.”
The Jastrzebskis first filed suit on Feb. 28 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, versus MMYB, Inc. of Parkers Prairie, Minn. and Hess Meat Machines, Inc. of St. Louis.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants designed, manufactured and sold the DMX-200Q meat mixer to Jastrzebski’s employer in Philadelphia, Petrovsky Market, in 2012.
“On or about Nov. 19, 2016, Jastrzebski was operating the product in the customary way in which it was operated at Petrovsky Market, with the hopper lid open and using the left momentary switch to control the operation of the machine,” the complaint reads.
Jastrzebski released the momentary switch to stop the machine in order to retrieve a piece of meat from the device’s hopper, but in the process, then inadvertently pressed the switch and activated the machine.
Jastrzebski was pulled into the machine as the hopper paddles crushed the bones in his right hand and forearm, which caused open fractures in his right arm and open wounds – thereby twisting the bones around the hopper paddles and exposing his open wounds to the meat product in the machine (which later caused infections).
Jastrzebski was trapped in the machine for more than 30 minutes, before emergency responders rescued him. He later underwent emergency surgery to debride, reduce and fixate the open fractures, as well as the surgical repair of five severed and/or torn tendons. Subsequently, he has required additional hospitalizations and surgery to fight infections and nerve damage.
The plaintiff says his severe injuries were caused by the defective product and the negligence of the defendant manufacturers, including lacerations, a fractured radius, a fractured ulna, nerve injuries, severed and injured tendons, and more.
However, as both defendant manufacturers are based in Minnesota (MMYB) and Missouri (Hess), respectively, and the likely amount of damages in question will exceed the federal court threshold of $75,000, defense counsel filed a notice of removal on March 23 based upon the diversity of citizenship and damages amount.
“Because the parties to this action are citizens of different states, and because the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, pursuant to Third Circuit law, federal diversity jurisdiction exists and removal of this action is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. Judicial economy, fairness, and convenience to the parties will be served by removing this state action to federal court,” Justina L. Byers said in the removal motion.
For counts of negligence, strict liability and loss of consortium, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, delay damages, interest and other relief, in this matter.
The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas A. Lynam III and Leonard G. Villari of Villari Lentz & Lynam, in Philadelphia.
The defendants are represented by R. Erick Chizmar of the Law Offices of Jeffrey L. Eiseman, plus Grant S. Palmer and Justina Lee Byers of Blank Rome, all also in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170207183
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org