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Injured worker cannot prove dairy owner should have known about "pinch-point."

Dennis LaLone suffered a terrible head injury when his head was caught in a "pinch point" in the rotary milking parlor at Riedstra Dairy Ltd.  LaLone was helping to repair the mechanism, while it was in operation, when his head became caught in the pinch point.  The insurer for the Dairy Farm argued that either the pinch point was "open and obvious" such that the dairy owner owed no duty to visitors, or the pinch point was not obvious--in which case the owner could not be assumed to have been aware of it--or expected to warn of its presence.  (Under current Michigan premises law, the victim is denied recovery either way.)  The Court dismissed the dairy farm from the litigation after the injured man's experts testified that the pinch point was hidden and not apparent on casual inspection.  The Court did not address whether the owner of the sophisticated  machinery "should have known" of the pinch point.  It appeared that a significant element in the decision was the repair team's decision to attempt repair without forcing the farm to stop milking operations.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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