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02/10/88 CAROLYN S. MILLER v. WILLIAM H. TODD

Filed: February 10, 1988.

CAROLYN S. MILLER, APPELLANT (PLAINTIFF),
v.
WILLIAM H. TODD,1 U.S. SUZUKI MOTOR CORP. AND SUZUKI MOTOR CO., LTD., APPELLEES (DEFENDANTS)



APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT, The Honorable Kenneth Johnson, Judge, Cause No. S2830606.

Buchanan, J., Shields, P.j., Conover, J. Concurs.

Author: Buchanan

BUCHANAN, J.

CASE SUMMARY

Appellant-plaintiff Carolyn S. Miller (Miller) appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment for appellees-defendants U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. [hereinafter collectively referred to as Suzuki], claiming that the trial court erred in determining there were no genuine issues of material fact and that Suzuki was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the absence of crash bars on a motorcycle is an open and obvious danger.

We affirm.

FACTS

The facts most favorable to the non-moving party indicate that on August 21, 1982, Miller was injured in a motorcycle accident. The motorcycle was manufactured by Suzuki and owned and operated by William H. Todd (Todd). Miller was riding with Todd when he approached a curve in the road. Instead of attempting to follow the curve of the highway, Todd elected to drive the motorcycle onto a gravel road. The motorcycle slid on the gravel and went down on its right side.

Todd had purchased front wheel crash bars from a local Suzuki dealer and had installed them on the vehicle himself. Crash bars are tubular steel bars which bolt to the motorcycle frame. Todd installed the crash bars on the front of the motorcycle for safety-enhancement purposes. When the motorcycle turned over on its right side, Todd's right leg was protected to some extent by the crash bar. The rear of the motorcycle did not have a crash bar and the motorcycle fell completely on its side in the rear. Miller's tibial plateau of her right leg was crushed.

ISSUE

Miller raises one issue, as restated, for our review:

Whether the trial court erred in determining that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that Suzuki was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the absence of crash bars was an open and obvious danger?

DECISION

PARTIES' CONTENTIONS -- Miller contends that the open and obvious danger rule should not relieve a motorcycle manufacturer from the ...


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