Manufacturers: Instructions said alarm should be checked often
|Design Defect, Products Liability - Manufacturing Defect, Workplace - Workplace Safety|
|Tadeusz Jatczyszyn v. Marcal Paper Mills Inc., Genie Industries, United Rentals and Terex Corp., No. BER-L-7696-07|
|Bergen County Superior Court, NJ|
|Alexander H. Carver
- Evan L. Goldman; Schiffman, Abraham, Kaufman & Ritter, P.C.; Hackensack, NJ, for Tadeusz Jatczyszyn
- Michael Meese M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; Hackensack, NJ called by: Evan Goldman
- Frank Rubino; Mechanical; North Attleboro, MA called by: Evan Goldman
- Patrick E. Bradley; Reed Smith LLP; Princeton, NJ, for Genie Industries, Terex Corp.
- None reported; null, null, for Marcal Paper Mills Inc., United Rentals
- Jason Berry; Engineering; Redmond, WA called by: Patrick Bradley
During the early morning hours of Oct. 25, 2005, plaintiff Tadeusz Jatczyszyn, 56, a mechanic for Marcal Paper Mills in Elmwood Park, was assisting another worker in spreading plastic sheeting over ceiling rafters. The other worker reportedly was operating a Genie Z34/22 boom lift to raise the plastic approximately 25 feet off the ground; when the lift operator moved the lift, it ran over Jatczyszyn's right foot, causing multiple fractures in that extremity.
Jatczyszyn sued Marcal Paper Mills; Genie Industries and its parent company, Terex Corp.; and United Rentals, which apparently had rented the Genie boom lift to Marcal. The claims against both Marcal and United Rentals were voluntarily dismissed prior to trial.
Jatczyszyn claimed that the travel alarm on the lift was not operating due to paper dust present in in the factory. It was alleged that the device's travel alarm was defective in that it did not include a foam cover that would have prevented paper dust from clogging the alarm.
Terex and Genie argued that the alarm for the boom lift in question had been intentionally clogged by another unknown Marcal employee, and that operating instructions for that line of machinery require that the alarm be checked prior to use.
Following the accident, Jatczyszyn was taken by ambulance to the Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was diagnosed as having sustained a fracture/dislocation of his right ankle, as well as fractures of the right distal tibia with intra-articular involvement, and of the right fibular shaft.
He underwent open reduction, internal fixation surgery for his leg fractures on Oct. 25, 2005, and had an external fixator implanted on the same day to treat his ankle injury. Jatczyszyn followed up with six months of physical therapy.
Jatczyszyn claimed his injuries have led to traumatic arthritis, as well as continuing pain and a limp in his right foot/ankle. He maintained that he is unable to drive for longer than short distances, and is unable to stand on a ladder.
His suit sought $50,000 in damages for past medical costs, and the jury was also asked to award pain-and-suffering damages.
At trial, the defense did not actively dispute the nature and extent of Jatczyszyn's injuries as alleged.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel for Terex and Genie. Plaintiff's counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls. The defendants who were voluntarily dismissed prior to trial were not asked to contribute.