HOUDAILLE INDUSTRIES, INC. v. EDWARDS
374 So.2d 490 (1979)
HOUDAILLE INDUSTRIES, INC., Petitioner,
Eddie EDWARDS, Sr., Etc., et al., Respondents.
Supreme Court of Florida.
July 5, 1979.
Rehearing Denied September 28, 1979.
Marion R. Shepard of Mathews, Osborne, Ehrlich, McNatt, Gobelman & Cobb, Jacksonville, for petitioner.
S. William Fuller, Jr. of Fuller & Johnson, Tallahassee, for respondents.
We have for review the decision of the District Court of Appeal, First District, in Home Indemnity Co. v. Edwards,360 So.2d 1112 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978), which conflicts with Stuart v. Hertz Corporation,351 So.2d 703 (Fla. 1977), and Spring Lock Scaffolding Rental Co. v. Charles Poe Masonry, Inc.,358 So.2d 84 (Fla.3d DCA 1978),1 thereby vesting
jurisdiction in this Court pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(3), Florida Constitution.
The issue before us is whether a manufacturer of a defective product that contributes to an on-the-job injury of a workman may seek common law indemnity from the employer of the injured workman.2 We conclude that, absent a special relationship between the manufacturer and the employer which would make the manufacturer only vicariously, constructively, derivatively, or technically liable for the wrongful acts of the employer, there is no right of indemnification on the part of the manufacturer against the employer. We hold that the trial court correctly entered summary judgment in favor of Houdaille on Florida Wire's third-party complaint for indemnification, and we quash the decision of the district court.
Houdaille Industries, the employer, manufactures reinforced concrete beams using steel wire cable which is made by Florida Wire and Cable Co. During the process of manufacturing the concrete beams, the steel cable is stretched through a mold into which the concrete is poured. Eddie Edwards, an employee of Houdaille, was killed when the cable broke while it was under stress. Houdaille paid Edwards' survivors the workmen's compensation benefits required by law. Edwards' personal representative then sued Florida Wire for his wrongful death and alleged that Florida Wire had breached its implied warranty of fitness and that this breach was the direct and proximate cause of Edwards' death.
Florida Wire filed a third-party complaint for indemnification against Houdaille and alleged that, at the time of the accident, Houdaille was actively negligent because it failed to properly conduct the detensioning process which was used to remove one of the strands from the pouring bed, because it failed to properly insert the strand back in the jack used in the detensioning process and improperly installed the jack to the strand of wire which resulted in misalignment of the jack and subsequent release of the strand, and because it failed to properly instruct its employees as to the detensioning process. Florida Wire alleged that if it was negligent, its negligence was merely passive. It did not, however, plead that its liability, if any, would be solely vicarious, constructive, derivative, or technical and would be based on the wrongdoing of Houdaille. Florida Wire further sought indemnity on the basis of a breach of an alleged independent duty owed to it by Houdaille.
Houdaille's motion for summary judgment on the third-party complaint was granted by the trial court for the reason that if Florida Wire was liable at all to the plaintiff, Edwards, its liability flows from a breach of warranty or some other wrongdoing on its part which could only be characterized as active negligence.
On appeal, the district court reversed, holding that a manufacturer of a product, who is sued for breach of warranty by one injured by the product, may bring a third-party complaint for indemnity against the employer of the injured party. The district court, focusing on the wrongdoing of the employer rather than the fault of the manufacturer, determined that material issues of fact precluding summary judgment exist as to whether the employer was guilty of negligence in the form of misuse of the product manufactured by Florida Wire. It effectually used the traditional common law indemnity classifications of active and passive negligence as a vehicle for weighing the fault of the employer as against the fault of the manufacturer.