Our law firm represented the family of Beverlyn Wingard in a wrongful death that was tried last month in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Ala. Ms. Wingard was killed in January 2008 while working for Albany International located in Montgomery. Ms. Wingard was crushed by machinery while she was operating a warper at the textile plant. The equipment she was operating failed to have the proper guards to protect workers, resulting in dangerous operating procedures. County Circuit Judge Charles Price found on behalf of the family and awarded $5,250,000 in damages.
Warpers are used in the textile industry to uniformly roll a number of lines adjacent to each other onto a spool called a canister. The S-roll drive maintains these lines at a constant tension, allowing them to be uniformly placed onto the canister. The evidence was undisputed during the trial that the warper was not properly guarded. As a result, Ms. Wingard’s body was pulled into the rotating parts of the machine, causing her death. Additionally, modifications made to the warper by the manufacturers caused workers to have to clean the equipment while it was running, instead of when the machine was turned off. They had been unable to do the latter prior to the modifications. With the modifications, this procedure was much more dangerous, with a risk that a worker could be pulled into the running machine.
Greg Allen and Kendall Dunson from the firm represented the estate. Greg says the sad thing about this case is that Ms. Wingard, who took care of two young children, was going to lose her job as a result of the Montgomery Albany plant closing. Ms. Wingard had been notified shortly before her accident that she would be laid off after six years at the plant. The suit was brought by Walter Wingard on behalf of the family. Defendants in the case included Guillot Textilmaschinen GmbH, a German corporation; TEXO Inc.; and TEXO AB, a Swedish corporation.
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