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Carson v. All Erection & Crane Rental Corp.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

February 3, 2016

KYLE CARSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ALL ERECTION & CRANE RENTAL CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee

Argued May 22, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:12-cv-1637-WTL-DML -- William T. Lawrence, Judge.

For Kyle Carson, Plaintiff - Appellant: John P. Daly Jr., Attorney, Golitko & Daly, PC, Indianapolis, IN.

For All Erection & Crane Rental Corporation, Defendant - Appellee: Kevin C. Schiferl, Attorney, Blake Norton Shelby, Attorney, Blake Norton Shelby, Attorney, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Indianapolis, IN.

Before EASTERBROOK, WILLIAMS, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 994

Hamilton, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Kyle Carson was severely injured at work when he fell underneath the tread of a crane that his employer, White Construction, leased from defendant ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corporation (ALL). Carson sued ALL for negligence in Indiana state court, and ALL removed the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Carson contends that ALL had a duty to conduct a reasonable inspection of the crane upon delivering it to White Construction, that ALL breached this duty by failing to conduct such an inspection, and that this breach was the proximate cause of his injury. The district court granted summary judgment for defendant ALL, finding that no reasonable jury could return a verdict for plaintiff Carson because there is no evidence in the record that ALL's alleged breach was the proximate cause of Carson's injury. We affirm.

I. Facts and Procedural Background

Our account of the facts sets forth facts that are either undisputed or, if disputed, are stated so as to give Carson as the non-moving party the benefit of conflicts in and reasonable inferences from the evidence. See, e.g., Carman v. Tinkes, 762 F.3d 565, 566 (7th Cir. 2014). In July 2012, ALL leased a crane to White Construction, specifically a Manitowoc 2250 Crawler Crane. In the summer of that same year, Carson was working for White Construction at a wind farm in Indiana where his employer had a contract to build wind turbines.

Carson worked primarily as a crane oiler, providing general maintenance on the crane and serving as the " eyes and ears" of Joe Dowell, the crane operator with whom he was paired. Carson was injured on September 20, 2012. On that day, Carson and Dowell were told to move the crane to a wind turbine platform several miles from where the crane started the day. During the long move the crane approached a road with overhead power lines. Carson knew that the crane had arrived at the road long before the power lines were to be lowered so that the crane could cross the road. He signaled for Dowell to stop the crane at the base of some wood matting placed to help the crane cross the road.

Dowell stopped the crane. But it then began moving forward again, and it moved

Page 995

onto the wood matting where Carson was standing. As the crane pushed one end of the matting down, the other end of the matting where Carson was standing began to rise into the air. Carson slid down the ramp the crane was creating and into its path. The ...


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