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Specht v. Kubota Tractor Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division

July 6, 2017

PAUL SPECHT, as adminstrator of the estate of Daniel Specht, Plaintiff,
v.
KUBOTA TRACTOR CORPORATION, Defendants.

          ORDER

          LINDA R. READE JUDGE.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION ....................................... 2

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY ................................ 2

         III. ANALYSIS ........................................... 3

         A. Specht Motion ..................................... 3

         1. Designed for lubricating oil ....................... 3

         2. Lubrication after ten hours of operation ............... 6

         3. “State of the art” evidence ........................ 7

         4. Lubrication with WD-40 .......................... 8

         5. Earmuffs on control lever ......................... 9

         6. WD-40 as unreasonable lubricant .................. 10

         7. Lack of maintenance ........................... 11

         B. Kubota Motion ................................... 13

         1. Industry standards ............................13

         2. “Self-lubricating bearings” .......................16

         3. Untimely supplemental opinions ....................17

         4. Inadequate instructions .........................19

         IV. CONCLUSION ....................................... 20

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The matters before the court are Plaintiff Paul Specht's “Motion in Limine” (“Specht Motion”) (docket no. 39) and Defendants Kubota Tractor Corporation, Kubota Corporation, Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation and Kubota Industrial Equipment Corporation's (collectively, “Kubota”) “Motion in Limine” (“Kubota Motion”) (docket no. 40).

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 2, 2015, Specht filed a Petition (docket no. 3) in the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, alleging eight claims against Kubota and two claims against Defendant Gary's Tractor & Implement, Inc. (“Gary's”). Specht alleges: (1) strict liability design defect against Kubota; (2) negligent design against Kubota; (3) failure to warn against Kubota; (4) post-sale failure to warn against Kubota; (5) breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose against Kubota and Gary's; (6) breach of express warranty against Kubota and Gary's; (7) breach of implied warranty of merchantability against Kubota; and (8) conduct warranting punitive damages against Kubota. On October 19, 2015, Kubota filed an Answer (docket no. 4). On March 24, 2016, Specht dismissed his claims against Gary's with prejudice. See Dismissal (docket no. 5). On April 15, 2016, Kubota removed the case, bringing it before the court. See Notice of Removal (docket no. 2). On June 6, 2017, the court entered summary judgment on Counts 3-8 of the Petition. See June 6, 2017 Order (docket no. 38) at 26. Trial on the remaining design defect claim, encompassing Counts 1 and 2, is currently scheduled to begin on August 7, 2017. See Trial Management Order (docket no. 18) at 3. On June 8, 2017, Specht filed the Specht Motion. On the same date, Kubota filed the Kubota Motion. On June 15, 2017, Kubota filed a Resistance to the Specht Motion (“Kubota Resistance”) (docket no. 42). On the same date, Specht filed a Resistance to the Kubota Motion (“Specht Resistance”) (docket no. 43). On June 29, 2017, the parties appeared before the court for a final pretrial conference, at which time the parties presented argument with respect to the Specht Motion and the Kubota Motion. See June 29, 2017 Minute Entry (docket no. 49). The matters are fully submitted and ready for decision.

         III. ...


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