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Andrasko v. Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp.

decided as amended october 26 1979.: October 22, 1979.

STEPHEN ANDRASKO AND ELIZABETH ANDRASKO, APPELLANTS
v.
CHAMBERLAIN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION



ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (D.C. Civil No. 76-533)

Before Seitz, Chief Judge, and Gibbons and Sloviter, Circuit Judges.

Author: Sloviter

Opinion OF COURT

Appellants, Stephen Andrasko and his wife, appeal from the entry of judgment for defendant which the trial court directed to be entered on the basis of the jury's answers to special questions in a diversity case tried under Pennsylvania law. Stephen Andrasko, a project supervisor employed by the Raymond R. Hedden Construction Co., was injured on May 8, 1974 while working on the premises of the United States Army Ammunition Plant located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The premises were under the control of Chamberlain Manufacturing Co., the appellee, which operated the plant under a contract with the Department of the Army.

The injury occurred when some steel plating owned by defendant which had been stacked along the side of one of the buildings of the plant fell on Andrasko after he handled it as he attempted to measure the thickness of the short front sheet. There was conflicting testimony as to the presence of any sign on the plating which could be considered a warning.

The case was tried before a jury from May 11 to May 17, 1978. The court submitted the issue of liability to the jury by special verdict questions pursuant to Rule 49(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The questions answered by the jury were:

1. Indicate by a check-mark Mr. Andrasko's status when he was struck by the steel plates stacked in front of the heat treatment plant on May 8, 1974:

Answer: Business invitee.

2. Did Chamberlain, by stacking the steel plates in front of the heat treatment plant or permitting them to remain so stacked, breach its duty to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition or breach its duty to exercise reasonable care to discover the negligent acts of third persons?

Answer: Yes.

3. If your answer to the previous question is yes, did Chamberlain breach its duty to warn Mr. Andrasko of the danger which was presented by the steel plates?

Answer: No.

9. Was Mr. Andrasko's conduct with respect to the steel plates on May ...


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