United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ROSSETTI & DEVOTO, P.C. By: Andrew J. Rossetti, Attorney
for Plaintiff Robert Siegman
SCHNADER HARRISON SEGAL & LEWIS LLP By: Carl J. Schaerf,
Esq. Attorneys for Defendants Schneider Electric United
States and Schneider Electric
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Siegman, an electrician, was severely burned by an arc
flash emitted from a live electrical transformer at the
Federal Aviation Administration's (“FAA”)
Technical Center in Atlantic City. Defendants Schneider
Electric United States, Schneider Electric, and Schneider
Electric d/b/a Square D (collectively, “Schneider
Electric”) designed the transformer. Plaintiff alleges
that his injuries could have been prevented by feasible
design changes that Defendant Schneider Electric should have
is now complete. Schneider Electric moves for summary
judgment asserting that the government contractor defense set
forth by the United States Supreme Court in Boyle v.
United Technologies Corp., 487 U.S. 500 (1988) precludes
a finding of liability. The Court agrees.
reasons stated herein, the Motion for Summary Judgment will
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
November 14, 2013, Plaintiff Siegman was working for his
employer, Scalfo Electric, Inc., at the FAA Tech Center
Substation Number 2 when the accident occurred. (Schaerf Aff.
Ex. K) Plaintiff testified at his deposition that he
“has no recollection of” what happened. (Siegman
Dep. p. 16) Scalfo Electric's Incident Report (Schaerf
Aff. Ex. K) states the following:
The employee was working on the left-hand side of the new
Substation No. 2 electrical equipment making final bus link
connections between the transformer and 208 volt switchgear.
The left-hand side of the new equipment was de-energized and
lockout - tagout devices were applied. For unknown reasons
the employee decided to open the enclosure door for the
transformer (right-hand side) of the new Substation No. 2,
which was energized. The employee accidentally came in
contact with an energized exposed conductor and an arc-flash
occurred resulting in the employee receiving significant burn
The employee did not follow the proper procedures / protocol
for the work activity. He was not authorized to open the
energized transformer enclosure. He did not have the
necessary written procedure for that work activity. He did
not wear the appropriate arc-rated PPE.
Aff. Ex. K).
The FAA's post-incident investigation report states,
To enter the [energized transformer] cabinet [Siegman] would
have had to loosen the four bolts that secure the door and
then turn the handle to release the door to open it. When
[Siegman] stepped into the cabinet contact was made with the
transformer tap and the cabinet causing the arch [sic] flash
to occur and tripping the two medium voltage breakers for
Cert. Ex. E)
was working pursuant to Scalfo Electric's contract with
the FAA to install the subject medium voltage cast coil
dry-type transformer designed by Defendant Schneider
Electric. (Antweiler 05/18/16 Dep. p. 9; Lesnieski Dep. p. 7)
The specific area where Siegman was working was not open to
the public; only “trained personnel” who have
been given “access to that area” could enter.
(Duffy Dep. p. 22-23)
witness, James Antweiler, explained the company's general
design process: “When [Schneider] receive[s] an order
for a transformer we process the order. The order would go to
whoever our supplier is, in this case ABB. And then [it]
would manufacture the transformer per the customer's
specifications and our specifications.” (Antweiler
05/18/16 Dep. p. 17)
respect to the specific design process that occurred between
Schneider and the FAA, Antweiler further testified, Q: . . .
How are [FAA specifications] and [Schneider specifications]
A: Our specifications are general specifications that apply
to all transformers that we buy. And then the FAA
specifications are specific to the job. And that would be the
voltages required, the impedances required, the size of the
transformer required, all those things that apply to the
specific end user.
. . .
Q: With regard to the specification for the doors [on the
transformer], the type of doors, the type of hinges, the
handles, whose specs [sic] do they fall under?
A: That would be the FAA.
Q: So, the FAA specifies what type hinges they want on ...