United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
ALLSTATE VEHICLE & PROPERTY INSURANCE COMPANY, as subrogee of Allen and Traci Henderson, Plaintiff,
ELECTROLUX HOME PRODUCTS, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a products liability case arising out of a dryer fire at the
home of Alan and Traci Henderson. Plaintiff Allstate Vehicle
& Property Insurance Company (“Allstate”), as
subrogee of the Hendersons, claims that Defendant Electrolux
Home Products, Inc. (“Electrolux”) negligently
designed, manufactured, and sold the subject dryer. Allstate
asserts claims under the Alabama Extended Manufacturers
Liability Doctrine (“AEMLD”) and for negligence.
before the court is Electrolux's motion for partial
summary judgment. (Doc. 36). Pursuant to Rule 56 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Electrolux seeks judgment
as a matter of law on Allstate's AEMLD and negligence
claims, to the extent the claims allege a failure to warn.
For the reasons explained below, the court
GRANTS the motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “The moving party bears the initial
burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact.” FindWhat Inv'r Grp. v.
FindWhat.com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986)). A “material fact” is one that
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute as to a material
fact that precludes summary judgment, a party opposing a
motion for summary judgment must cite “to particular
parts of materials in the record, including depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252 (“[A] party opposing a
properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest
upon mere allegation or denials of his pleading, but must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Baas v. Fewless, 886 F.3d 1088,
1091 (11th Cir. 2018). The court “may not weigh
conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations of
its own.” FindWhat Inv'r Grp., 658 F.3d at
1307. “If the record presents disputed issues of fact,
the court may not decide them; rather, it must deny the
motion and proceed to trial.” Id.
2007, Plaintiff Allstate's subrogors, Allen and Traci
Henderson purchased a new electric clothes dryer manufactured
by Defendant Electrolux. (Doc. 36-3 at 17; Doc. 36-4 at 16).
Between 2007 and 2014, Mr. Henderson personally installed the
dryer at three different residences, the last of which was a
home located on Mudd Street in Lincoln, Alabama (“Mudd
Street Residence”). (Doc. 36-3 at 17-18, 38).
and operation manuals accompanying the dryer contained fire
warnings as did the dryer itself. For example, the
dryer's Installation Instructions state:
“If the dryer is not exhausted outdoors,
some fine lint will be expelled into the laundry
area. An accumulation of lint in any area of
the home can create a health and fire hazard. The
dryer MUST be exhausted to the outside of the
dwelling!” (Doc. 36-6 at 7) (emphasis in
original). The Installation Instructions also state:
Do not screen the exhaust ends of the vent
system, nor use any screws or rivets to assemble the exhaust
system. Lint can become caught in the screen,
on the screws or rivets, clogging the duct work and creating
a fire hazard as well as increased drying times. Use an
approved vent hood to terminate the duct outdoors, and seal
all joints with duct tape.
(Doc. 36-6 at 7) (emphasis in original). The Installation
Instructions go on to provide: “The exhaust system
should be inspected and cleaned a minimum of
months with normal usage. The more the dryer is
used, the more often you should check the exhaust system and
vent hood for proper operation.” (Doc. 36-6 at 7)
(emphasis in original).
dryer's Use & Care Guide states:
Prevent Fire … Clean the lint screen before or after
each load. The interior of the dryer, lint screen housing and
exhaust duct should be cleaned approximately every 18 months
by qualified service personnel. An excessive amount of lint
build-up in these areas could result in inefficient drying
and possible fire. . . . Failure to comply with these
warnings could result in fire, ...