United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Home Depot, U.S.A.,
Inc.'s (“Home Depot”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF
No. 13). Plaintiff Timothy Miravalle
(“Miravalle”) has filed a response in opposition
and the issues are fully briefed. The parties consented to
the jurisdiction of the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
denies Home Depot's motion to dismiss.
action arises out of the injury to Miravalle's left hand
and fingers sustained while operating a Ryobi table saw
(“Ryobi saw”) designed, manufactured, marketed,
distributed and sold by Defendants. (Complaint, ECF No. 1 at
¶ 8) The accident occurred when Miravalle operated the
Ryobi saw after removing the guard assembly in order to make
desired common cuts. (Id. at ¶ 10)
brought claims for strict liability product defect (Count I),
strict liability failure to warn (Count II), and product
liability, negligent manufacture, design, warn (Count III).
Depot has moved for dismissal under Missouri's Innocent
Seller statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.762. The statute
has been held to shift liability from a downstream seller to
the manufacturer. See Gramex Corp. Green Supply,
Inc., 89 S.W.3d 432, 445 (Mo. banc 2002). As required by
the statute, Home Depot submitted with its motion an
affidavit that avers in pertinent part, “[t]he table
saw at issue is a product purchased from One World
Technologies, Inc., sent directly to [Home Depot's]
receiving facilities, and then directly sold to our
customers. Home Depot does not participate in the design of
the product or any warnings, alter or modify the product,
test the product, or exercise any substantial control over
the manufacturing of the product.” (ECF No. 13-1 at
¶ 3, Affidavit of Steve Weihe)
response, Miravalle opposes dismissal, arguing that his
allegations against Home Depot go beyond its status as a mere
seller in the stream of commerce by marketing the Ryobi saw,
being the exclusive seller of the Ryobi saw's product
brand, designing, manufacturing, distributing and/or selling
the Ryobi saw.
reply, Home Depot contends that Miravalle's allegations
are nothing more than synonyms of seller or conclusions not
supported by the record.
Innocent Seller statute provides:
1. A defendant may move for dismissal under this section
within the time for filing an answer or other responsive
pleading unless permitted by the court at a later time for
good cause shown. The motion shall be accompanied by an
affidavit which shall be made under oath and shall state that
the defendant is aware of no facts or circumstances upon
which a verdict might be reached against him, other than his
status as a seller in the stream of commerce.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.762.1
Innocent Seller statute provides that “[a] defendant
whose liability is based solely on his status as a seller in
the stream of commerce may be dismissed from a products
liability claim as provided in this section.” Mo. Rev.
Stat. § 537.762.1. The statute further provides that
“[t]his section shall apply to any products liability
claim in which another defendant, including the manufacturer,
is properly before the court and from whom total recovery may
be had for plaintiff's claim.” Mo. Rev. Stat.
§ 537.762.2. Interpreting this statute, the Missouri
Supreme Court held that “[t]o the extent that a
plaintiff can otherwise obtain ‘total recovery,'
all liability of a downstream seller, who would otherwise be
jointly and severally liable to plaintiff for damages and
subject to contribution from the other defendants, is shifted
to upstream defendants, including the manufacturer.”
Gramex, 89 S.W.3d at 445.