Garnett Et. Al. v. Harman Corporation
Four plaintiffs, one of whom was later fatally burned, were pouring over two thousand pounds of molten metal into a die that had been attached to a rotating table of a vertical centrifugal casting machine. The molten metal was over 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. During the pour, the die loosened and ruptured causing molten metal to be sprayed about. The force of the uncontained molten metal caused the guard to be burned in the molten metal escaping from the machine spraying and splashing on the plaintiffs, setting their clothes on fire.
The Herman Vertical Centrifugal casting machine was defective as designed because it contained a risk of injury of molten metal spraying about during operation, which had not been designed out to the extent possible by either having the entire machine, including the die, placed below floor level with interlocked access floor panels or a positively affixed interlocked pour guard. Furthermore, the plaintiffs claimed that Herman Corporation did not provide adequate warnings. A detailed installation drawing had a notation that the pouring guard was to be furnished by the customer. However, there was no information provided to the purchaser of this product by Herman Corporation as to the type or size of the pour guard and more importantly the manner and method it was to be secured and fastened.
Plaintiff Garnett suffered third degree burns over 48% of his body; plaintiff Alvin Smith suffered third-degree burns over 55% of his body; plaintiff Lewis suffered second- and third-degree burns over 29% of his body, and plaintiff Geesey suffered burns over 98% of his body and died 14 hours later. Plaintiffs Garnett, Smith, and Lewis were required to undergo multiple skin grafts and other surgical procedures. Plaintiff Garnett had more than 10 surgical procedures with plaintiff Smith requiring more the 20 surgical procedures. All plaintiffs are totally disabled with disfiguring scars and continued psychological problems.
We settled before the trial at a present money value of $5,100,000.00. The case was handled by Philadelphia products liability attorney, Richard M. Jurewicz, Esquire of Galfand Berger. For more information on this case, please contact him at [email protected].