THIS PRODUCTS LIABILITY (DEFECTIVE DESIGN) ACTION AROSE FROM THE ROLLOVER OF A VEHICLE MADE BY DEFENDANT FORD; PLAINTIFF’S EXPERT’S AFFIDAVIT ALLEGING THE VEHICLE WAS UNSAFE AND PRONE TO ROLLOVERS WAS CONCLUSORY AND THEREFORE DID NOT RAISE A QUESTION OF FACT (FIRST DEPT).
The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s expert’s conclusory affidavit alleging defendant’s vehicle was unsafe did not raise a question of fact in this products liability action stemming from the rollover of a vehicle made by defendant (Ford):
The defective design claim should have been dismissed because plaintiff failed to rebut defendant’s prima facie showing that the Ford van was not negligently designed. ‘Where a qualified expert opines that a particular product is defective or dangerous, describes why it is dangerous, explains how it can be made safer, and concludes that it is feasible to do so, it is usually for the jury to make the required risk-utility analysis” whether the product was reasonably safe … . However, an expert cannot raise an issue of fact to defeat a motion for summary judgment when the opinion consists of only bare conclusory allegations of alleged defects or industry wide knowledge … . Here, plaintiffs’ expert’s assertions that the vehicle at issue was unsafe and prone to rollovers was unsupported by any data or calculations concerning the testing he purportedly performed, testing he described in the most conclusory of terms and general of statements … . Richards v Ford Motor Co., 2021 NY Slip Op 05469, First Dept 10-12-21