Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO.
Bieser, Greer & Landis, LLP, James H. Greer and Christina
M. Flanagan, for Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Stephen A. Bailey, for Defendant-Appellee Andy's Coin
Wiles Burkholder & Teetor, LLC, William B. Benson and
Mark C. Melko, for Defendants-Appellees Dexter Laundry, Inc.,
Dexter Financial Services, Inc., Century Laundry
Distributing, Inc., and Robertshaw Controls Company, Inc.
Plaintiffs-appellants Seth and Lisa McLaughlin appeal from
the trial court's entry granting summary judgment to
defendants-appellees Andy's Coin Laundries, Inc.,
("Andy's") Dexter Laundry, Inc., Dexter
Financial Services, Inc., Century Laundry Distributing, Inc.,
(collectively referred to as "Dexter") and
Robertshaw Controls Company, Inc., ("Robertshaw")
on the McLaughlins' claims for negligence, products
liability, spoliation, and loss of consortium.
Finding no merit to the McLaughlins' argument that the
trial court's grant of summary judgment was in error, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.
On October 14, 2014, Seth McLaughlin took a comforter to a
laundromat owned by Andy's. McLaughlin placed the
comforter and detergent inside a front-loading washing
machine, inserted coins into the machine, and initiated a
wash cycle. Approximately 20 minutes later, McLaughlin
noticed that the machine was still in the wash phase of the
cycle and that a display on the front of the machine was
flashing the message "F-10." Through the clear door
on the front of the machine, McLaughlin could see that the
machine contained sudsy water and that its drum continued to
slowly rotate as the error message flashed. McLaughlin
inserted more coins into the machine, but the error message
remained. Unaware of what an "F-10" error was,
McLaughlin sought help from two other patrons in the
laundromat, Anthony Jones and Sharon Gill. Jones and Gill
both regularly frequented Andy's laundromat, but neither
had ever seen that particular error message.
McLaughlin, Jones, and Gill attempted to push the
machine's emergency stop button numerous times, but the
machine continued to spin and its door remained locked.
McLaughlin noticed that a sign on the wall contained a
telephone number, and he asked Jones and Gill if he should
call the listed number. After they told him that he would not
get a response and would be forced to leave a voicemail, he
elected not to call. Jones told McLaughlin that he had seen
other patrons "pop open" washing machine doors when
a machine malfunctioned, and he offered to retrieve a
screwdriver from his car and use it to open the locked door
of the machine. McLaughlin agreed to Jones's suggestion.
Jones retrieved the screwdriver and used it to pry open the
The machine's drum continued to spin after Jones opened
the door, although no water or suds spilled out. McLaughlin
waited one to two minutes while the machine spun, and then,
believing he could safely remove the comforter, used his left
hand to grab a part of it that had started to come out of the
machine. The comforter was wet and heavy. After losing his
grip, McLaughlin reached into the machine and grabbed the
comforter with his right hand. The comforter began to wrap
around McLaughlin's arm up to his elbow, and his arm was
pulled into the machine as the drum continued to turn.
McLaughlin felt what he described as a "violent
pop" as his wrist was crushed and disconnected
internally from his arm. Unable to free himself, he shouted
for help. Jones pulled McLaughlin out of the machine.
As a result of the accident, McLaughlin's hand was
amputated at the wrist.
The front of the washing machine bore a warning label that
read, "Warning. Risk of serious injury. Do not try to
open door when: the drum is still turning; you see water in
the window; any cycle light is still on." The warning
further stated, "If power is interrupted, there will be
a 2 to 3 minute delay before the door can be opened."
The warning label also contained an image of a reaching hand,
with a line crossing out the hand, indicating that users
should not place their hands in a moving machine. In his
deposition, McLaughlin did not dispute the presence of the
warning label, but testified that he did not recall seeing it
on the machine.
The washing machine used by McLaughlin was manufactured,
financed, and sold by Dexter. Robertshaw had manufactured the
machine's control panel.
Seth and Lisa McLaughlin filed suit against Andy's,
Dexter, and Robertshaw, asserting claims for negligence,
products liability, spoliation, and loss of consortium. All
defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were
granted by the trial court.