green checkmark Google Screened
  • Contact Us Today

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Peter Patton Wins Important Victory for Injured Worker

    The Superior Court of Pennsylvania, in a unanimous full court opinion, agreed with Galfand Berger Senior Partner Peter Patton’s argument that certain federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations did not bar a worker’s claim that a forklift was unsafely designed. Kiak v. Crown Equipment Corp.,  2010 Pa Super 13.

    This decision is a huge victory for the rights of injured workers throughout Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Patton sought to overturn a lower court decision, which determined that a federal OSHA regulation barred or preempted our client’s state law claim that a forklift was unsafe.  If upheld, this lower court decision would have restricted the rights of workers to recover for on-the-job injuries caused by defective machinery or equipment.

    Our client 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.  Without this safety feature, our client did not hear the approaching forklift truck and suffered debilitating injuries.

    The manufacturer of the forklift argued that OSHA regulations barred or preempted our client’s claim under state law.  The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to the manufacturer.  By granting summary judgment, the trial court prevented our client’s claim from going to trial.

    Mr. Patton was convinced the trial court wrongly decided this issue so he appealed the court’s determination.  His analysis proved correct as the Superior Court, en banc, ruled that our client’s claim was not barred or preempted by federal regulations.  In adopting Mr. Patton’s argument, the Superior Court ruled:

    Upon examination of the federal statute, regulations, and applicable ANSI standards, we conclude that Kiak’s product liability theory suggests a standard that is not in conflict with or preempted by federal law.
    Kiak at 14-15 (2010) (emphasis in the original).  As a result of Mr. Patton’s skillful lawyering, our injured client will have his day in court.  Likewise, across this state, Mr. Patton’s victory is a win for other workers injured by forklifts lacking needed warning devices.Galfand Berger has been representing catastrophically injured clients for over 65 years and has a long history of raising the bar for obtaining verdicts and settlements in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you or someone you know has been injured, please call Galfand Berger toll free at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) to speak with Mr. Patton or one of our other attorneys about your legal rights.