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Seekins v. CHEP USA

personal injury law

Court: US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Docket: 20-3270

Opinion Date: December 10, 2021

Judge: KANNE

Areas of Law: Personal Injury

This case law update is brought to you by Freeway Law auto accident and personal injury lawyers in Orange County. The following is not one of our cases, but it is of some significance, and we thought we should share it with our readers for informational purposes. The information above is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

Dollar General contracts separately with Capstone and CHEP for work at its Marion, Indiana distribution center. Dollar General owned certain power equipment at the distribution center, including all pallet jacks. Capstone and CHEP employees were permitted to use Dollar General’s jacks. Dollar General personnel were responsible for maintaining the jacks. Capstone and CHEP employees who had an issue with a jack were to take it to the Dollar General maintenance shop and fill out a “red tag.”

Capstone employed Seekins to unload trucks at the distribution center. Seekins lost his left foot as a result of an accident involving a jack and sued CHEP. Seekins alleged that the jack had possibly been used by a CHEP employee before Seekins and that CHEP’s alleged failure to remove the jack from service meant that CHEP effectively supplied it to Seekins.

The district court entered summary judgment, holding that CHEP did not owe Seekins a duty of care under Indiana negligence law. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. CHEP was not a “supplier” as that term is used in the Indiana statute. The sharing of equipment owned, controlled, and maintained by a third company does not create a duty of care.

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