A $645,388 jury verdict was returned in favor of Colton Brooks, a 17-year-old farm worker, who suffered leg and knee injuries in a farming vehicle accident. The predominant industry in the county where the suit was heard is farming. In July 2011, Colton Brooks was a volunteer worker at Stanton Orchards. His left leg was crushed when a 4,000-pound cherry catcher (a specially-made tractor for cherry collection) he was operating lost control and rolled down a hill. It was contended that Brooks had not received adequate training from the orchard’s management. It was also alleged that the brakes on the 30-year-old cherry catcher had not been properly maintained.
Gary VanEe, a retired Michigan State University agricultural engineering professor, who has strong experience in farm equipment hydraulics, testified for the Plaintiff at trial. He inspected the machine and testified that the brake system, if properly maintained, would have stopped on the hillside when the brake was pressed. He further explained that the brakes gave the wheels more power because of their placement. During discovery, it was learned that the machine had broken free and rolled downhill twice in 2010. One of those incidents was with the 19-year-old son of the orchard’s mechanic operating it. The mechanic testified at trial that he told the orchard owners that the machine should be replaced after the 2010 harvest. He also said during his testimony that a cage should be welded around the seat to protect the occupant if the machine did roll downhill again.
The jury allocated 15% of fault to Brooks. The verdict was broken down as follows: $134,888 in past and future medical expenses and $510,500 in past and future non-economic damages. R. Jay Hardin, a lawyer with the Michigan firm of Smith, Haughey, Rice, Roegge, represented the Plaintiff. He did a very good job in the case for his client.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.