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Second Extension Cord Manufacturer Not liable When Earlier Claim Against Different Company
SECOND EXTENSION CORD MANUFACTURER NOT LIABLE WHEN EARLIER CLAIM AGAINST DIFFERENT COMPANY
In Hall v. GE, No. 02-20377, April 3, 2003, a plaintiff had brought a personal injury action against GE claiming it had manufactured an extension cord that caused a fire severely burning the plaintiff. The plaintiff had sued a different set of manufacturers earlier and received a $15,000,000.00 settlement.
He subsequently sued GE. GE moved for summary judgment claiming judicial estoppel. Plaintiff had originally claimed Pacific Electricord and Woods Industries sold the cord to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart stated in discovery it only sold cords manufactured by Pacific and Woods. The plaintiff agreed to dismiss Pacific and ultimately settled.
In the second action against GE, the court granted the motion finding judicial estoppel applied because the second suit involved a position inconsistent with his earlier claim. The Court of Appeals applied federal law and upheld the District Court opinion. The court noted detailed two bases for judicial estoppel. First, it must be shown that "the position of the party to be estopped is clearly inconsistent with its previous one; and [second,] that party must have convinced the court to accept that previous position." The court found both factors present and affirmed judgment for GE.
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