Chicago, IL - Segal McCambridge attorneys Kathleen McDonough, Jason Eckerly, and Misty Martin obtained a complete summary judgment for BGHA, Inc., a manufacturer of hunting tree stands in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, Winnebago County. Plaintiff claimed he bought a display floor model BGHA tree stand from a third party retailer in November 2005. Plaintiff acknowledged that the tree stand was not in the original packaging, was missing parts, and did not contain the instruction booklet published by BGHA. Nevertheless, Plaintiff assembled the tree stand, admitting that he ignored warnings and substituted parts. Plaintiff climbed up the tree stand a day after it was purchased, fell from the tree stand, and suffered severe spinal injuries. Witness testimony suggested heavy alcohol use leading up to the time of Plaintiff's failed use of the tree stand.
Plaintiff brought suit against BGHA based on theories of strict product liability, negligence, and warranty. Once discovery was completed, Segal McCambridge filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss the case in its entirety. The court granted BGHA's motion on all three counts on January 14, 2013. In a seven page written opinion, the court recognized that "summary judgment is a drastic remedy to be awarded only with care and caution." However, the court agreed with Segal McCambridge that Plaintiff simply had not and could not present evidence that the alleged defects in the tree stand (absence of a safety harness and instructions) existed at the time the tree stand left BGHA's control. Without being able meet this required element to his claim, all of Plaintiff's allegations against BGHA failed as a matter of law, and the court entered judgment in BGHA's favor and against Plaintiff.