• July 10, 2019

Today is apparently the day in which Minnesota Litigator covers unseen lapses which, over time, result in big bad consequences.

Regular Minnesota Litigator readers will remember the ladder lawsuit between Wing Industries and Tricam (see earlier posts here and here).

For those of you unfamiliar with the earlier posts, they concerned the ladder label, below, and whether it is (a) false; and (b) material to consumers’ purchasing decisions.

This week, Plaintiff Wing Industries lawsuit went down in flames because Wing messed up (in the opinions of U.S. Judge Eric C. Tostrud (D. Minn.) and U.S. Mag. Judge Elizabeth C. Wright, at least).

Specifically, the Court faulted Wing for not distinguishing between ANSI and OSHA compliance during the discovery phase of the civil litigation. When Tricam finally tipped Wing off about Wing’s blurring of these two related but not at all identical regulation-related standards, it was too late for Wing.

Is it possible that a ladder could be OSHA compliant and ANSI non-compliant at the same time? “OSHA regulations require a product to be labeled as ANSI compliant,” Wing argued to the Court (see here at p. 22).

Unfortunately for Wing, its argument, without evidence to back it up, held no sway.

Wing—the Party with the burden of showing how [Wing’s survey expert] testimony is relevant—has not cited, and the Court has not independently identified, any evidence establishing that a ladder that does not satisfy the rung-depth requirement at issue here necessarily fails to conform to OSHA.

See here at p. 26)

This has to be a nauseating outcome of a long, expensive, and hard-fought lawsuit for the Plaintiff.

In our view, the case is resembles too many commercial disputes. Some companies seem to spend a lot of time and money unproductively — suing competitors over what, from a distance, seem to be immaterial slights. Maybe there are hidden/undisclosed considerations and strategies making this litigation worthwhile but, as far as we are concerned, TAAFOMFT.

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