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Middlesex County

The plaintiff tractor-trailer driver in his early 50’s, who was picking up goods at the defendant’s warehouse, contended that he had encountered continuing difficulties closing the overhead door of his trailer, which opened and closed vertically, and that when it became stuck upon his attempts to close it, he jumped from the trailer to use his body weight to close it while grasping the handle. The plaintiff contended that the door jammed, resulting in his falling to the right, rather than directly below, causing him to strike the top of the unpadded, four foot high I-beam situated to the right of the truck which was placed by the defendant to protect the warehouse from trucks backing into the area. The plaintiff’s expert engineer contended that the defendant should have padded the I-beams. The defendant’s expert denied that such padding was necessary and maintained that it was not required by any standards. The plaintiff contended that the defendant had obtained a handyman who worked for a local church to install the I-beams and maintained that this individual did not have sufficient experience to take safety factors into account. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was overwhelmingly comparatively negligent. The plaintiff’s orthopedist contended that the plaintiff sustained a fractured coccyx which will cause permanent pain. The plaintiff contended that he can no longer withstand the vibrations of tractor-trailer driving and has commenced his own business washing and installing awnings, which he contended provides less income. The plaintiff testified that he performs the sales aspects of the business while his children engage in the actual physical work. The plaintiff related that the business has shown steady improvement since he started it and that he anticipates that he will reach his prior earnings within three years of trial. The plaintiff made a past income loss claim of $________ during the six year period between the accident and trial. The defendant’s orthopedist contended that the fracture was very minor, was not readily observable on x-ray and denied that it was causing continuing complaints. The liability jury found the defendant 70% negligent and the plaintiff 30% comparatively negligent. The damages jury rendered a gross award of $________ which was molded in accordance with the liability result. Wassil vs. Philmont Mfr.

Docket no. L-________-87; Judges Joseph Sadofsky (Liab.) and Rosemary Reavy (Dam.). Attorney for plaintiff: Willard Geller; Attorney for defendant(Liab.): Kathleen Wargo; Attorney for defendant(Dam.): Alan Fidel. Plaintiff’s expert engineer: Gerald Weiner from Somerville. Plaintiff’s orthopedist: Paul Shapiro from Franklin Township. Defendant’s expert engineer: Henry Naughton from Edison. Defendant’s orthopedist: Edward Rachlin from Watchung.

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