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Design defect 14th 2009Time of Request

Design defect 14th 2009Time of Request - 1Design defect...

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1 Design defect 14 th 2009 Time of Request: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 11:52:09 EST Client ID/Project Name: xyz Number of Lines: 475 Job Number: 1823:178775735 Research Information Service: Natural Language Search Print Request: Current Document: 2 Source: TX State Cases, Combined Search Terms: producing cause marketing defect Send to: PARISH, JUDY FUNDERBURK & FUNDERBURK, LLP 2777 ALLEN PKWY STE 1000 HOUSTON, TX 77019-2165
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2 of 100 DOCUMENTS TOMMY CHAMPION, Appellant v. GREAT DANE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Appellee NO. 14-08-00310-CV COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, FOURTEENTH DISTRICT, HOUSTON 286 S.W.3d 533; 2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 3222; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P18,223 May 7, 2009, Opinion Filed PRIOR HISTORY: [**1] On Appeal from the 189th District Court, Harris County, Texas. Trial Court Cause No. 2005-52056. COUNSEL: For appellants: Richard L. Lagarde, Roger N. Chrisco, Houston, TX. For appellees: William C. Book, LeAnn Kay, Houston, TX. JUDGES: Panel consists of Chief Justice Hedges, Justice Frost, and Senior Justice Hudson. * * Senior Justice J. Harvey Hudson sitting by assignment. OPINION BY: Kem Thompson Frost OPINION [*535] The underlying products-liability case arose from injuries sustained by appellant, a truck driver, in attempting to unload a truck trailer manufactured by appellee. The truck driver complains on appeal that [*536] the trial court erred in excluding testimony from his expert witness as to the trailer's alleged design defect and in granting a motion for a directed verdict in favor of the manufacturer on the design-defect claim. We affirm. I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Appellant Tommy Champion, a truck driver, filed suit against appellee Great Dane Limited Partnership (hereinafter "Great Dane") for injuries he sustained in an incident involving a truck trailer manufactured by Great Dane. The trailer was owned by Penske Trucking Leasing Company, 1 which leased the trailer to Champion's employer. 1 Although Champion also asserted claims against Penske and another party, the record reflects that Champion accepted settlement offers from those two [**2] parties and that the claims against those parties were dismissed with prejudice. Great Dane designed and manufactured the refrigerated trailer according to Champion's employer's specifications. The trailer had ridged flooring that allowed cold air to circulate beneath the freight. An uncovered gutter 2 spanned the width of the trailer in the rear, which allowed for condensation and liquids from leaky freight to drain away from the freight. Liquids flowed into drainpipes on each side of the gutter to prevent pooling. A "lift gate platform" was attached to the rear of the trailer, which facilitated loading and unloading cargo. Champion had not used this particular trailer before the incident in question. 2 The parties used the terms "gutter" or "drain" interchangeably in reference to this open space. For consistency, we use the term "gutter." The gutter measured approximately 2-1/3 inches wide and 1- 1/4 inches deep.
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