Lawyers in our firm settled a case last month involving an on-the-job injury involving a piece of aluminum extrusion equipment manufactured by Granco Clark, Inc. Our firm represented Walter Robinson, a 19-year employee of Thermalex Inc., located in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Robinson was a machine operator at Thermalex and was injured on the job. At Thermalex, large aluminum logs weighing approximately 1,200 pounds are heated in a furnace and run through a die to make smaller aluminum component parts. Much of the equipment in the Thermalex facility is manufactured by Granco Clark. Located at the beginning of the extrusion line is a Granco Clark log table. The log table is essentially a holding rack for the aluminum logs and it’s tiered for different alloy logs. The table has a series of hydraulic functions that feed logs individually onto a conveyor that pushes the logs through the furnace.
On the day of Mr. Robinson’s accident, a log jammed in the table’s cradle and would not release onto the conveyor. We learned that this particular machine had a history of jamming in this manner. Mr. Robinson worked downstream from the log table at the end of the extrusion line. His co-employee and supervisor requested Mr. Robinson’s help to manually eject the log from the cradle. As Mr. Robinson and his co-employee attempted to manually eject the jammed log, a second log was released from the top tier of the table with the cradle still in the down position. The 1,200-pound log crashed down onto the table, crushing our client’s foot. Walter’s toes could not be saved, and the front portion of his foot had to be amputated.
After the accident, our lawyers investigated the case and inspected the Granco Clark log table. With the help of Dr. Igor Paul, a retired professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, our lawyers discovered several design and guarding flaws. Dr. Paul testified that the machine was unreasonably dangerous and therefore defective due to the lack of hydraulic interlocks preventing the table from releasing logs with the cradle out of position. Dr. Paul further testified that the table lacked adequate perimeter guarding, exposing operators to crush hazards. Following the accident, Thermalex placed fences around the log tables restricting access to the previously exposed crush hazards.
Mr. Robinson’s life was forever changed as a result of the accident, but he has kept his head up and maintained a positive attitude throughout the case. He agreed to a settlement in his case with the amount, at the Defendant’s request, being confidential. This case was handled by Evan Allen and Kendall Dunson, lawyers in our firm. The case was pending before Judge Gene Reese in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Ala. Evan and Kendall did a very good job for Mr. Robinson in his case.
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