Remington 1100 dating
Separately, Levinson noted that a different Remington shotgun, the Model 870, is made of the same steel as the Model 1100 but has a thicker barrel. Richard Hertzberg, a professor of metallurgy at Lehigh University, testified in Remington's behalf at trial. Hertzberg believed that the cause of the shotgun barrel explosion was a high-pressure shell. Hertzberg based his conclusion on an examination of the plaintiff's gun, on a comparison of the Loitz gun with exemplar guns that had been intentionally exploded by the discharge of overloaded shells, and on his own tests of the strength of AISI 1140 modified steel. Hertzberg concluded that the type of steel used by Remington for production of the plaintiff's gun barrel was a safe and suitable material for the purpose it was designed to serve and for the range of pressures to which it would normally be exposed. The witnesses also described the injuries they received as a result of the barrel explosions and recounted their subsequent medical treatment. Remington next contends that the trial judge erred in allowing the plaintiff to introduce evidence that the barrel wall of a different Remington shotgun, the Model 870, was thicker than that of the Model 1100, the shotgun used by Loitz.
Hertzberg was not aware until trial, however, that a Remington barrel had failed during proof-testing, and he said that he was unable to account for that occurrence. The appellate court ruled that the testimony detailing the events preceding the accidents was "arguably relevant" to the company's failure to provide warnings of the alleged defect, but the court considered the medical evidence to be of doubtful relevance. The barrels of both models are made from the same type of steel, AISI 1140 modified, and it is not disputed that a thicker barrel is stronger.
Loitz bought the gun secondhand later that year and used it without incident until the occurrence here. In 1980 the company switched to a technique known as "auto-drilling." Hutton denied that the changeover had any material effect on barrel production. Instead, the jury may have believed that even if Remington had investigated each explosion, the investigations were merely done in a perfunctory fashion.
Loitz, an experienced marksman, was taking part in a trapshooting competition when he was injured; the barrel explosion occurred after Loitz had fired more than 60 rounds. Hutton further stated that a review of Model 1100 parts specifications dating back to 1963 failed to reveal any design changes affecting barrel wall thickness. Levinson's testimony regarding his measurements of at least two of the earlier, Verson-extruded barrels. Such a belief would have been reinforced by the three victims who testified in this case that, contrary to Remington's claims, they were not using high-pressure ammunition.
The proof-test shells used by Remington produce pressures ranging between 18,000 and 22,000 pounds per square inch. Taken with the case was the plaintiff's motion to strike certain portions of the amicus brief submitted on this issue by the Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc.
Remington believed that the plaintiff's gun exploded because it was subjected to a pressure of about 60,000 pounds per square inch. David Levinson, a professor of metallurgy at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus, believed that the Loitz gun barrel exploded because of a fatigue failure in response to a normal-pressure shell. Levinson's opinion, AISI 1140 modified steel is not a suitable material for use in shotgun barrels. Levinson stated that the inclusions created by the relatively high sulfur content of that type of steel permit the formation of fatigue cracks, which may eventually cause the barrel to fail under normal pressure loads. Levinson also believed that Remington had thickened, and therefore strengthened, the barrel of the Model 1100 since the time the plaintiff's particular shotgun was produced. The challenged portions of the brief do not form the basis for our resolution of the present appeal, and the motion to strike is therefore dismissed as moot. 675).) Similarly, the question of punitive damages cannot be submitted to the jury if the plaintiff fails to introduce evidence of the defendant's willfulness or wantonness.
The shells being used by Loitz on the day of the accident were ones that he previously had reloaded himself. The plaintiff offers a final series of items intended to show Remington's awareness of the deficiency of the Model 1100 shotgun. Under the manifest weight of the evidence standard of review, I would affirm the appellate court's decision which affirmed the jury's award of punitive damages in this case.
Disputing that claim, Remington presented testimony indicating that no change had been made in the thickness of the company's Model 1100 barrels. The three witnesses stated that the shells they were using at the time of their accidents were normal reloaded or factory products. Because we have determined that the award of punitive damages must be reversed, we have no occasion to consider here the effect of the testimony on that portion of the judgment.
The central issue at trial was the safety and suitability of the metal used in the plaintiff's Model 1100 shotgun barrel, and each side presented its own theory of the cause of the accident. Asked whether chrome molybdenum steel was "a better steel than using" AISI 1140 modified, Johnson replied, "Yes, perhaps that's true." The witness did not agree, however, that the presence of inclusions would weaken a gun barrel. E.2d 608 (adopting "flagrant indifference" standard for use in awarding punitive damages in products liability cases)), or measured against the more traditional phrasing of willful and wanton misconduct.