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$500,000 Hand Injury Settlement for Laborer in Flash Drying Machine Accident

Gery v. William W. Meyer & Sons, Inc., et al

Case Synopsis:

Our client, a 21-year-old laborer employed by Custom Processing Systems, a company that produces bulk powders, was working with the JOD/Flash Drying Machine on the date of the accident. The flash drying machine is the end point of a process that grinds various sizes of materials to a powder consistency, then blends and dries them for bulk shipment.

On the day of the accident our client noticed that the flash drying system had become clogged and that powder material was no longer free-flowing into its bag receptacle as it should.  Our client notified the foreman about the clog and requested that the foreman evaluate the cause of the obstruction.  The foreman instructed our client to bang on the outside of the rotary airlock on the drying machine to attempt to loosen the jam.   While walking to the rotary airlock our client tripped over a scale and his hand went up into the airlock resulting in a traumatic hand injury.

The rotary airlock on the flash drying machine, manufactured by defendant William M. Meyer & Sons, was defective as designed because it did not contain a protective grid.   A protective grid over the entrance to the rotary airlock would have prevented our client’s hand from accidentally entering the airlock when he fell.  Defendant Air Engineering Sales Corporation’s (AES) failed to advise and warn our client’s employer that the employer’s intended use of the airlock was not safe unless there was proper safeguarding for the discharge end of the drying machine where our client was injured.

Defendant Fluid Energy Processing was the previous owner of the facility where the hand injury accident took place.  Fluid Energy was also liable for the defective airlock because they previously owned and operated the flash drying machine and did not equip the discharge end of the machine with adequate safeguards.

Our client suffered partial amputation of his thumb, index and long fingers as a result of the accident.

Outcome:

The products liability case settled before trial for $500,000, with defendant William M. Meyer & Sons contributing $240,000, defendant AES contributing $140,000, and defendant Fluid Energy Processing contributing $120,000.

The case was handled by Philadelphia products liability attorney, Richard M. Jurewicz, of Galfand Berger. For more information on this hand injury case, please call Galfand Berger at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact Mr. Jurewicz directly at rjurewicz@galfandberger.com.