Superior Court unanimously agrees with argument from Galfand Berger’s Peter Patton regarding application of OSHA regulations
Philadelphia, Penn., March 1, 2010 — In an important victory for injured workers in Pennsylvania, attorney Peter Patton Philadelphia personal injury attorneys from Galfand Berger prevailed in a recent Superior Court decision, which determined that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations did not bar an injured worker’s claim that the forklift — which struck him — was unsafely designed.
In the case, Kiak v. Crown Equipment Corp. (2010 Pa Super 13), the plaintiff suffered a serious leg injury when a forklift, coasting in reverse, struck him in a warehouse. The forklift did not beep when coasting in reverse and, without this safety feature, the plaintiff did not hear the approaching forklift truck. He suffered debilitating injuries.
The manufacturer of the forklift argued that federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations barred or pre-empted the plaintiff’s claim under state law. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to the manufacturer. By granting summary judgment, the trial court prevented the claim from going to trial.
However, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, in a unanimous, en banc, opinion, agreed with Mr. Patton’s argument that OSHA regulations did not bar the plaintiff’s claim that the forklift was unsafely designed.
“If it had been upheld, the lower court decision in this case would have restricted the rights of workers to recover for on-the-job injuries caused by defective forklifts,” explained Patton. “As a result of our ability to persuade the Superior Court to overturn the trial court, however, our injured client will now have his day in court. Across this state, our victory in this case is a win for other workers injured by equipment that is lacking needed warning devices.”
Galfand Berger has been championing the rights of injured workers, consumers and individuals since 1947. Harry Galfand and Albert Gerber founded the firm more than 65 years ago with one goal: to secure full and just compensation for people who have suffered injustices and injuries. Galfand Berger remains true to that dedicated mission today, with its team of medical malpractice attorneys, workers compensation attorneys and car accident attorneys.