A jury in Wilson County, Kan., recently awarded $1.6 million in damages to a worker in a work-related lawsuit. Sam Rollings, the Plaintiff, worked at the Fredonia Cooperative Association, Inc. in Fredonia, Kan. He suffered a devastating injury in January 2007 while working in a grain bin, sweeping out some corn when he slipped and his right foot and leg became caught by the drag chain of the conveyor system designed by Ken Babcock Sales, Inc. He suffered severe personal injury resulting in the loss of his leg.
The lawsuit alleged that Ken Babcock Sales Inc., failed to provide guards to protect workers engaged in required grain removal inside the grain bin and failed to provide instructions and warnings adequate to protect workers. The lawsuit further alleged that the grain conveying system was defective in its design and was in an unreasonably dangerous condition when it was sold to the Plaintiff’s employer, the Fredonia Cooperative Association, Inc.
The Defense argued that the Plaintiff’s employer was negligent in sending workers, including the Plaintiff, into the grain bin while a sweep auger and the grain conveyor were moving and energized. They maintained that the system designed by the Defendant was not unsafe if used consistent with warnings on the grain bin door not to enter the bin while parts were moving. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs, awarding Rollings $1.6 million to cover lost wages, lost earnings, medical expenses, and future medical care.
The jury found Defendant Babcock 46% at fault; the employer Fredonia Co-Op 44% at fault; and Plaintiff Rollings 10% at fault. The Plaintiff was represented by J.B. Dilsheimer, a lawyer with Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., a Philadelphia firm, along with Timothy A. Short, from Pittsburgh, Kan. These lawyers did a very good job in this case.
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