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December 2012

Gordon & Rees Sacramento Partner Kathy Rhoads Wins Summary Judgment in Products Liability Suit

On Dec. 14, Gordon & Rees Sacramento partner Kathy Rhoads obtained summary judgment on behalf of the manufacturer, distributor and retailer of an industrial HVAC cleaning agent.

The plaintiffs were HVAC contractors using the aerosol product when the can exploded causing them significant injuries. They denied they used the product improperly. However, discovery -- including the deposition of the fire captain who investigated the accident -- revealed the plaintiffs had misused the product by attaching a compressed gas cylinder and manifold. The defendants established there were clear warnings against connecting the product to a secondary source of compressed gas and failing to ensure the system is free of pressure which could result in the canister bursting and causing injury. 

Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown found that the misuse of the product was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs' injuries and served as a complete bar to the plaintiffs' claims.

Kathleen M. Rhoads


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