A Georgia recycling facility has entered into a settlement with the family of a man who was burned to death on the job. The settlement came after a jury awarded the family $29.25 million. The two-week trial in the suit by Efrain Hilario and Gabina Martinez, parents of Erik Hilario, ended with the verdict. The case had involved questions of whether Newell Recycling Of Atlanta Inc., the entity that owned the property, or Newell Recycling LLC was the man’s employer and whether the suit should have proceeded under Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law. It appears that the Defendants had a very complicated employment structure. This made it difficult for the family’s lawyers.
The worker was killed in January 2011 after a fire broke out while he was using a front-end loader to clear debris in an area where gas had previously been spilled from soon-to-be-scrapped cars. The decedent’s parents and his estate sued the recycling facility in a Fulton County court in July 2012. The Plaintiffs alleged it was the defective design of a spike used to drain fuel from vehicles before crushing them that contributed to the death. It was alleged further that the recycler had also failed to warn of the dangers of the device.
The Defendants argued the product liability claims were inappropriate and sought to blame another worker, who had been using a grappling hook to drain gas tanks instead of the spike. The jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs on the negligent design and failure to warn claims, awarding Hilario’s parents $21 million and his estate $8.25 million. The settlement is confidential. The Defendants said they would have appealed the application of product liability law in the case, had not a settlement been reached. Under Georgia law if worker’s compensation had applied, the amount of the verdict would have been very much less.
The Plaintiffs were represented by Alan J. Hamilton, Jeff P. Shiver and R. Scott Campbell of Shiver Hamilton LLC, Mark Murray of The Murray Law Firm and Darren Summerville of Summerville Moore PC. The case was in the State Court of Fulton County, Ga. These lawyers did a very good job in this case.
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.