Submitted December 20, 2013
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Ft. Smith.
For Michael Reed, Plaintiff - Appellant: Joe H. McCutchen II, Sam Sexton III, Mccutchen & Sexton, Fort Smith, AR.
For Malone's Mechanical, Inc., an Arkansas Corporation, Defendant - Appellee: Jonathan Earl Baker, Michael J. Emerson, Barber & Mccaskill, Little Rock, AR.
For Gilbert Project Services, Inc., Third Party - Appellee: John Leslie Evitts III, Rex M. Terry, Hardin & Jesson, Fort Smith, AR.
Before WOLLMAN, LOKEN, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
KELLY, Circuit Judge.
Michael Reed claims he was injured when an employee of Malone's Mechanical, Inc. dropped a pipe saddle on him from a scissor lift during a renovation project at the Simmons Food Plant in Van Buren, Arkansas. Reed filed a negligence action against Malone and others. After a complicated procedural history, the case proceeded to trial where a jury returned a
verdict in favor of Malone. Reed appeals, arguing the district court committed numerous trial errors and requesting that the verdict be set aside and the case remanded for a new trial. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.
In 2006, Simmons was renovating its Van Buren chicken plant. As part of the project, Simmons hired a number of independent contractors. Malone, a mechanical and plumbing contractor, performed overhead work on the thermal piping designed to carry hot cooking oil to cooking equipment. FMC Food Technologies--Reed's employer--contracted to provide equipment. Simmons hired Gilbert Project Services as the project consulting manager.
On June 4, 2006, Reed was called into the plant to help diagnose a problem with a commercial fryer FMC had sold to Simmons. At the same time, Malone employee Michael Jacobs, along with another Malone employee, was on a raised scissor lift working on overhead pipes. In order to adjust or level pipes, the pipe saddle--a piece of metal weighing between 10 and 12 pounds that supports the pipe--had to be loosened. Usually, the scissor lift is located directly beneath the pipe being adjusted, but here, the location of an oven prevented the scissor lift from being situated directly beneath the pipe. Accordingly, Jacobs was working on a pipe located outside the lift platform and ...