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Finch v. Lee Chi Enterprises Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 28, 2019

SULLIVAN FINCH, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
LEE CHI ENTERPRISES CO. LTD. d/b/a Lee chi Enterprises Co. LTD. d/b/a Lee Chi Enterprise Co. LTD. d/b/a Lee chi Enterprise Co. LTD. d/b/a Lee Chi Machinery Industry LTD. Co. d/b/a Lee chi Machinery Industry LTD. Co. d/b/a Promax d/b/a Promax USA d/b/a Promax Components, a foreign company, and THE CYCLE GROUP d/b/a Cycle Group, Inc., d/b/a Promax d/b/a Promax USA d/b/a Promax Components, a California Corporation, Defendants.

          ORDER RE DESIGNATION OF NONPARTIES AT FAULT

          R. BROOKE JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On June 21, 2014, Sullivan Finch, then a minor, was injured when the BMX bicycle he was riding in a competition in Weld County, Colorado crashed. He and his father Douglas Finch, who originally brought this action on Sullivan's behalf, believe that the cause of the accident was a failure in the bike's handlebar assembly. Plaintiff asserts product liability claims against Lee Chi Enterprises Co. Ltd. (Lee Chi), a Taiwan-based company alleged to be the manufacturer, wholesaler, designer and distributor of the bike components, and The Cycle Group, a California corporation also alleged to be a manufacturer, wholesaler, designer and distributor of the bike components. Federal jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship.

         The case is before the Court on Lee Chi's motion for an extension of time to designate non-parties at fault. For reasons that I discuss in this order, the motion is denied.

         FACTS

         A chronology of facts that I find to be relevant to the pending motion, and that are undisputed unless otherwise noted, follows:

         1. The accident occurred on June 21 or 22, 2014.

         2. Plaintiff's counsel notified The Cycle Group of the accident and that it was allegedly caused by a defective “Promax” stem by letter dated July 24, 2014. See ECF No. 49-1.

         3. The Cycle Group in turn notified Lee Chi, and by letter dated August 8, 2014. Lee Chi's insurance broker asked plaintiff's counsel for more details concerning the accident. See ECF No. 49-2.

         4. On June 1, 2016 plaintiff's counsel sent a formal demand letter to The Cycle Group and Lee Chi's insurance broker. ECF No. 49-3 (letter) and 49-4 (UPS delivery confirmation). Counsel included a copy of an engineering report concerning the cause of the accident prepared by Seth W. Bayer, P.E., of Ponderosa Associates Limited dated July 27, 2015 (ECF No. 49-6).

         5. This lawsuit was filed on November 30, 2016. ECF No. 1.

         6. By letter dated December 11, 2016 plaintiffs notified Lee Chi's Chairman and President, Ah-Pin Lin, of the lawsuit and requested that Lee Chi waive formal service. See ECF No. 49-5.

         7. The Cycle Group was served on August 18, 2017. See ECF No. 24-1.

         8. Lee Chi was served with the summons and complaint on November 20, 2017. This was accomplished by the diplomatic method through the United States Department of State. The return of service was filed on May 7, 2018. See ECF Nos. 29 and 29-1.

         9. On May 9, 2018 plaintiff moved for an order setting Lee Chi's answer date at June 22, 2018, a date that had been agreed between counsel for the plaintiff and The Cycle Group to allow additional time for the defendants to determine whether the same counsel would ...


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