A personal injury action was filed stemming from an accident in Nassau, in which a 30-year old man, during his employ as a groundskeeper with a school district, severed a portion of his left ring finger when the tailgate portion of a dump body installed on a 1996 Ford F-350 dump truck dropped on his finger.
The groundskeeper related that in the spring of 2003, he noticed that the tailgate of truck 23 began to swing back and forth and he could hear it banging as he drove the truck. He said the tailgate was popping off while he was driving, and the bottom part of the tailgate used to come out of the section that was clamped to hold it together. He also testified that, from the spring of 2004 until the day of his truck accident in April 2005, the tailgate fell off the truck on a daily basis and that he complained to school personnel about said situation, but nothing was done to remedy the alleged problem.
One of the third-party defendants wanted the claims of strict products liability dismissed because the facts show that the tailgate at issue was damaged prior to the groundskeeper’s accident and was subsequently profoundly modified and altered as a result of that damage thereby resulting in his injuries. That defendant also said that there was no evidence establishing a manufacturing or design defect in the tailgate.