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151 Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment-10135426

151 Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment-10135426

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Published by LynnKWalsh
This new lawsuit was refiled after the court ruled the issue at debate in the Pike case is not primarily about the safety of the product but about the installation by FDOT. As a result, Trinity is no longer named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
This new lawsuit was refiled after the court ruled the issue at debate in the Pike case is not primarily about the safety of the product but about the installation by FDOT. As a result, Trinity is no longer named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

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Published by: LynnKWalsh on Aug 27, 2014
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09/17/2014

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTMIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDAOCALA DIVISION
CHARLES W. PIKE,Plaintiff,vs.Case No. 5:12-cv-146-Oc-32PRLTRINITY INDUSTRIES, INC., etc., et al.,Defendants. 
ORDER
Plaintiff Charles Pike was the passenger in a Ford F-150 truck when it went off theroad and struck a guardrail in Lake County, Florida on October 29, 2010. The end terminalof the guardrail, which had been improperly repaired in 2009 by the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) following an earlier accident, entered the truck cabin through thepassenger side wheel well causing terrible injuries to Pike, a young man whose medicaltreatment included a below-the-knee leg amputation. In this lawsuit, Pike claims that the guardrail system manufacturer, Trinity HighwayProducts, LLC and its parent company, Trinity Industries, Inc. (together, “Trinity”), failed towarn FDOT that its guardrail system could fail if not repaired in compliance with the originalinstallation instructions. Trinity has moved for summary judgment on several grounds. Uponreview, the Court holds as a matter of law that FDOT is a “sophisticated user” of guardrailsystems, familiar with the protocols for their installation, inspection and repair. Therefore,Trinity had no duty to warn FDOT of the danger of negligent repairs, and summary judgmentis due to be entered in Trinity’s favor.
Case 5:12-cv-00146-TJC-PRL Document 151 Filed 07/16/14 Page 1 of 24 PageID 5536
 
I.Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate where “there is no genuine dispute as to anymaterial fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue of fact is ‘material’ if, under the applicable substantive law, it might affect theoutcome of the case. An issue of fact is ‘genuine’ if the record taken as a whole could leada rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.” Harrison v. Culliver, 746 F.3d 1288,1298 (11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). The Court “must view all evidence and reasonableinferences in the light most favorable” to the non-moving party; however “the mere existenceof a scintilla of evidence in support of [that party’s] position will be insufficient.” Miller’s AleHouse, Inc. v. Boynton Carolina Ale House, LLC, 702 F.3d 1312, 1316 (11th Cir. 2012)(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986)).This case is brought under the Court’s diversity jurisdiction
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 and the parties agree thatFlorida law governs. 
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Pike is a citizen and resident of Florida. Trinity Industries, Inc. is a Delaware corporationwith its principal place of business in Texas. Trinity Highway Products, LLC is a Delawarelimited liability company with its principal place of business in Texas. Trinity Industries owns100% of the interest in Trinity Highway Products, LLC. See Docs. 9, 54, 55 & 56 (certificateof interested parties, revised amended complaint, defendants’ answers to revised amendedcomplaint).
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Case 5:12-cv-00146-TJC-PRL Document 151 Filed 07/16/14 Page 2 of 24 PageID 5537
 
II.Background
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In 2007 Trinity was awarded a contract with the State of Florida for the installation of Trinity’s ET-Plus end terminal system and guardrail at the intersection of State Road 33 andGroveland Airport Road in Lake County, Florida. A state-approved contractor installed theguardrail. Trinity guardrail systems are not “retail” products; rather, they are sold exclusivelyto municipalities, states, and other government entities or their contractors. See Doc. 135,Ex. U (Deposition of Trinity Vice-President of International Sales and corporaterepresentative Brian Smith) at Transcript (“Tr.”) 17. Trinity’s ET-Plus end terminal systemis comprised of over fifty component parts shipped as a self-contained package witheverything needed to assemble the entire system except the tools.
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 See Doc. 135, Ex. F(ET-Plus Installation Instructions) at p. 6; Doc. 135, Ex. H (Affidavit of Malcolm Ray, P.E.,Ph.D.) at ¶ 13. Developed and patented by Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute (anagency of the State of Texas), and manufactured and sold by Trinity through a licensingagreement, a key feature of the ET-Plus end terminal system is that, upon impact, the endpiece (or extruder head) is pushed by the vehicle along the first section of guardrail until it 
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While much of the technical detail comes from Trinity personnel or experts it hired, Pikehas not presented evidence to dispute these points. In fact, the only evidentiary material Pikesubmitted in opposition to summary judgment were excerpts of five of the depositions of Trinity and FDOT personnel that Trinity filed in support of summary judgment, and excerptsof two other depositions of Trinity personnel. See Docs. 142 & 143.
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 According to Trinity’s Brian Smith, if multiple units are ordered, the guardrail and headpieces are shipped in groups, but the other parts and assembly hardware are individuallypackaged and shipped for every unit. See Doc. 135, Ex. U at Tr. 25.
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Case 5:12-cv-00146-TJC-PRL Document 151 Filed 07/16/14 Page 3 of 24 PageID 5538

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