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Arthur v. MacAllister Machinery Co., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 18, 2017

Carla S. Arthur, as Special Representative of the Estate of Mitch Arthur, deceased, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
MacAllister Machinery Co., Inc., and MacAllister Rental, LLC, Appellees-Defendants

         Appeal from the Knox Circuit Court The Honorable Sherry E. Gregg Gilmore, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 42C01-1301-CT-5

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Joseph E. Allman Indianapolis, Indiana.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES Kevin C. Schiferl Darren A. Craig Indianapolis, Indiana.

          ALTICE, JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Carla S. Arthur, as Special Representative of the Estate of Mitch Arthur, (the Estate) appeals from the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of MacAllister Machinery Co., Inc., and MacAllister Rental, LLC (collectively, MacAllister). On appeal, the Estate argues that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment on its negligence claim against MacAllister.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts & Procedural History

         [¶3] MacAllister operates approximately twelve equipment rental facilities from which its customers, primarily industrial concerns, rent or lease heavy equipment. In 2008, MacAllister began leasing heavy equipment to Scepter Inc., which operated a secondary aluminum recycling facility in Bicknell, Indiana. Over the years, MacAllister had leased over twenty different aerial boom lifts to Scepter for use in various applications. On January 23, 2012, MacAllister delivered yet another boom lift[1] leased by Scepter to the Bicknell facility.

         [¶4] With every rental, MacAllister performed an inspection of the equipment and completed an Equipment Condition Report (ECR). Those ECRs were presented to, reviewed by, and signed by receiving personnel upon delivery of the equipment. The ECR for the boom lift at issue reflected that an inspection of the boom lift, including checking its fluid levels, tire condition, safety features, decals, manuals, and fuel level, had been performed. It is further indicated on the ECR that the operating controls and safety devices were working properly at the time of delivery. In this same portion of the ECR is a place to acknowledge that "Only properly trained personnel (see back of form) shall operate this equipment." Appellant's Appendix Vol. 2 at 176 (underlining in original). Next to this statement, the box indicating "yes" is marked. Id. On the reverse side of the ECR, the responsibilities of the boom lift's user/operator are set out, including that:

• the user shall ensure only properly trained individuals will operate the aerial platform
• the operator be trained on the equipment
• the user and their operators shall perform work place inspections prior to use of the aerial platform, and
• the user shall direct his operating personnel and supervise their work to ensure operation of the aerial platform in compliance with the ...

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