Randy and Sandra Joseph v. Lavatec, A.G.; Lavatec, Inc.; Mickron Industries, Inc. v. Hampton Hotel Corp., Ascot Associates, and Baring Industries, Inc.
Type of Injury
CRUSH INJURY TO ARM
assistant engineer for the Hotel Pennsylvania
This action settled during trial for $1,377,500, plus the waiver of a $ 103,228 Workers’ Compensation lien.
XVII/5-45 PRODUCT LIABILITY COMMERCIAL WASHER MAINTENANCE COMPANY FAILED TO REPLACE GUARDS CRUSH INJURY TO ARM
SETTLEMENT: Randy and Sandra Joseph v. Lavatec, A.G.; Lavatec, Inc.; Mickron Industries, Inc. v. Hampton Hotel Corp., Ascot Associates, and Baring Industries, Inc. 30459/94 Date of Settlement 3/24/99 Kings Supreme
Pltf. Atty: Steven M. O’Connor of O’Connor & O’Connor, White Plains
This action settled during trial for $1,377,500, plus the waiver of a $ 103,228 Workers’ Compensation lien. Pltf., a 29-year-old assistant engineer for the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan, was injured on 7/30/94 at 11:30 AM when his arm became caught in a tunnel washing machine. Pltf. claimed that he was cleaning the machine’s rollers when his hand and forearm were drawn into its pinch point. He contended that Deft. Lavatec failed to provide interlocks, that the machine was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, and that it lacked adequate warnings. He also claimed that the washer should have been designed with fault circuits, which would stop operation of the machine if it was started without the safety guard in place. Pltf. claimed that Deft. Mickron was negligent for removing and not replacing guards and covers, which would have prevented him from accessing the rollers and pinch point, and for instructing Pltf. to clean the rollers if necessary. Defts. claimed that Third-party Defts. Hampton and Ascot should not have allowed Pltf. to work on the machine and that Third-party Deft. Baring was responsible under strict product liability as a seller of a defective product. At trial, Mickron’s employees admitted to removing the machine’s guards despite knowing that the guards were meant to prevent injury. Pltf.’s expert testified that OSHA rules stated that any such machine guards should be immediately replaced if they are removed. Pltf.’s employer admitted that Pltf. had not been given instruction on safe use and repair of the washer.
Injuries: crush injury to the right (dominant) hand and arm. Pltf. would have claimed that he had scars and diminished grip and pinch strength of the hand. Demonstrative evidence: photographs of the tunnel washer, rollers, and guards on floor. Specials: $30,000 for medical expenses; $135,000 for past lost earnings. Settlement apportionment: All Defts. and Third-party Deft., except Mickron, settled for $727,500 ($300, 000 from Lavatec; $212,500 from Hampton; $212,500 from Ascot, plus the waiver of a $103,228 Workers’ Compensation lien; $2,500 from Baring Industries); Third-party Deft. Mickron settled for $650,000.
Pltf. Experts: Howard Edelson, OSHA and safety expert, Plainview; Thomas Fitzgerald, Ph.D., economist, Manhattan; Dr. Steven Glickel, hand surgeon, Manhattan; Dr. Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan.