In Hoover v. New Holland North America, the New York State Court of Appeals
ruled earlier this month that the seller, Niagara Frontier Equipment Sales,
Inc., and distributor, CNH America LLC, of a tractor-driven post hole
liable for an accident that tore off the arm of a teenage girl back in 2004.
The girl, Jessica Bowers, 16, of Niagara County, was dragged into the rotating
driveline of the digger being operated by her stepfather, who had borrowed
the digger from a friend, Peter Smith. Smith admitted to previously removing
a plastic safety shield from the digger because years of use had worn it down.
The shield would have protected Bower from being dragged into the driveline.
However, the Court ruled that the safety shield's design was faulty,
which caused Smith to remove it. Bowers's stepfather, Hoover, sued
the digger's seller, distributor, manufacturer, component maker, and
others, citing negligence and strict products liability.