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$1 Million Verdict for Machine Operator Injured by Industrial Weld Machine

Lehman v. Pacific Roller & Die Co.

Case Synopsis:

The plaintiff, a 48 year old machine operator, injured his back and leg in a fall from the  elevated platform of a spiral weld machine.  The machine, which was manufactured by defendants, produced metal pipes, ranging in diameter from 10.75″ to 72″.  The pipes were formed on a part of the machine called the forming station.  The forming station was an area supported by two elevated platforms four feet off of the ground.  On the date of the accident the plaintiff had to step over a 12.75″ pipe that was in operation  on the machine in order to check its alignment.  While stepping over the pipe the plaintiff slipped on the surface of the platform,  struck his buttocks on a table and fell to the floor.

The Pacific Roller & Die Company spiral welding machine was defectively designed because the platform was designed in such a way that the operator of the machine had to step over the pipe that was in operation on the machine and the platform itself was manufactured from sheet metal, which is a very slippery material.  The slipperiness of the platform, in conjunction with the inadequate space on the platform for the machine operator, created a dangerous condition for any individual operating the machine.  A design alternative, such as using an open web grating or other skid resistant traction on the platform, could have prevented the accident.

In the accident plaintiff sustained injury to the muscular support system of the sacrum, or the large bone at the base of his spine, causing intermittent radiating pain to his left leg.  Plaintiff lost seven months of work because of the injury.  Upon his return to work, plaintiff could only work five hours a day because of the pain caused by his injury and therefore suffered a serious reduction in wages.

Outcome:

After a five day trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million. The award included $238,000 to the plaintiff’s wife for loss of consortium.

The case was handled by Philadelphia products liability attorneys, Richard M. Jurewicz, Esquire and Arthur L. Bugay, Esquire of Galfand Berger. Contact Richard Jurewicz at rjurewicz@galfandberger.com or Arthur Bugay at abugay@galfandberger.com for more information.

Contact the Galfand Berger law firm at 1-800-222-USWA (8792).