Court Denies Pella Corporation’s Motion for Summary JudgmentMay 17th, 2022 by Travis Rains
A motion for summary judgment from Pella Corporation, named by plaintiff Sophia Suleiman in a 2018 civil suit alleging a lack of safety features on its windows, has been denied by the Northern District of Indiana.
The plaintiff alleges that windows installed at her Indiana residence did not have safety locks to prevent children from opening them. It is further alleged that Pella Corporation, the window manufacturer, “failed to utilize available technology to provide windows with adequate locks to prevent injuries to persons, and in particular to children, from opening the windows and falling out of the windows,” according to court documents.
The plaintiff further alleges that in August 2017, a minor child opened a window at the residence and fell from the second floor to the ground. The plaintiff alleges negligence as well as a breach of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose and a claim of strict liability.
Recent developments did not necessarily deal with the facts of the case, but rather the timing in which expert testimonies were provided to the court. The expert witness disclosure deadline for the plaintiff was May 8, 2019 with Pella filing a motion for summary judgment on May 2 based on the plaintiff’s failure to disclose any expert witnesses, according to court documents.
On May 10, the plaintiff provided expert testimony to the court and Pella Corp. moved to strike it as untimely. At this time, the court instructed the plaintiff to file a response to the motion for summary judgment filed with the court in early May. That response was filed June 7.
According to court documents, the defendant sought summary judgment because disclosures were not made by the deadline and expert testimony was needed for the plaintiff to prove their case. The court wrote that it found minimal prejudice in the short delay in expert witness disclosure and that any prejudice could be mitigated through discovery.
“Any prejudice to the defendant by the brief delay in the plaintiff’s late disclosure can be cured by the court resetting the expert and fact discovery deadlines. Moreover, the defendant will have an opportunity to challenge the admissibility of the plaintiff’s expert witness’ opinions and to file a dispositive motion, if appropriate,” the court wrote. “Next, there is no disruption to trial because fact discovery had not yet closed. Finally, the court finds no bad faith or willfulness on the part of the plaintiff in not disclosing the expert report by the deadline.”
On May 10, 2022, the court denied Pella Corporation’s motion for summary judgment.
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