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$________ – Products Liability – Failure to Warn – Failure to inform of safe method to clear rotor jams on top portion of crushing machine – After rotor resumes spinning, plaintiff falls 6 feet into discharge chute – Femur fracture – Open reduction internal fixation – Surgical hardware installation of intramedullary nail – Degloving penile injury and testicle laceration requiring sutures – Transverse process lumbar and thoracic fractures – Sacroiliac dislocation – MRSA infection that requires two additional surgeries.

Middlesex County, NJ

The male plaintiff, a 59-year-old heavy equipment operator at a recycling facility, was using an excavating machine to feed material into the rock crushing machine manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff contended that after the crusher became jammed, the operator of this machine disengaged the clutch, effectively placing the machinery in neutral, and that he and the operator opened the crusher housing and climbed on the top of the rotor to try to ascertain the cause of the jam. The operator stepped off the rotor and cleared the jam while the plaintiff was still atop the rotor, which moved causing the plaintiff to lose his balance and fall approximately six feet through the chamber into the discharge chute.

The plaintiff maintained that the defendant failed to place any instructions regarding safe procedures for resolving foreseeable jams of the crusher or as to the risk of the rotor freeing up while a worker is in the immediate vicinity of the rotor. The plaintiff maintained, and the defendant conceded, that there was no mention in the manual regarding jams and no warnings on the machine itself.

There were no allegations that the defendant’s machine was defective for reasons other than the alleged failure to provide adequate warnings and instructions. The defendant denied that warnings regarding obvious hazards of being close to the rotor were required. The defendant further contended that the repair of conditions causing jams are the responsibility of the machine owner and that it could not provide warnings regarding the manner of rectifying such jams that could be caused by any number of factors. The manufacturer also claimed that the owner had modified the crusher in several respects, leading to frequent jams.

The defendant further denied that the plaintiff read the manual or that the consequences would have changed had he read it, arguing that there was an absence of proximate cause. Since this was a workplace accident, the defense of comparative negligence was not available to the defendant. However, the defendant did argue that the conduct of the plaintiff, the operator, and the owner combined to cause the accident.

The plaintiff suffered a femur fracture that necessitated an open reduction internal fixation and the surgical hardware installation of a 14-inch intramedullary rod. The plaintiff also suffered a dislocation of the sacroiliac joint, fractured and dislocated ribs, and a number of transverse process fractures in the lumbar and thoracic spine. These injuries were treated conservatively, and the plaintiff contended that they will cause permanent significant pain and limitations.

The plaintiff also suffered a degloving penile injury and laceration to the testicle, which were sutured on the day of the event and there was no evidence of a long-term physiological dysfunction. The plaintiff further maintained that enzyme studies showed an infarct that the plaintiff contended was causally related. The plaintiff underwent a cardiac catheritization and no addition treatment was needed. The plaintiff also contended that he developed a MRSA infection which required two further surgical procedures. He spent a total of 5 weeks in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

Medical expenses totaled $________ and were fully paid by worker’s compensation. The plaintiff returned to heavy equipment work after ten months. Net Lost wages were approximately $________. The case settled on the ninth trial day for $________.

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