$5.2 Million – Defective Hydraulic Lift

Premises Liability — Negligent Design

Settlement: $5.2 million.

Case/Number: Case I.D. Confidential.

Court/Date: San Diego Superior / May 3‚ 1996.

Judge: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller.

Attorneys: Plaintiff – Kevin F. Calcagnie (Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis‚ Inc. – Newport Beach); M. Lawrence Lallande (Perona‚ Langer & Beck‚ Long Beach).

Defendants – Tom Sloan‚ Craig Livingston (Bronson‚ Bronson & McKinnon‚ San Francisco).

Technical Experts: Plaintiff – John B. Sevart‚ P.E.‚ mechanical engineer‚ Wichita‚ Kan.; Paul F. Youngdahl‚ mechanical engineer‚ Palo Alto; Darryl R. Zengler‚ economist‚ San Marino; Richard J. Hornick‚ Ph.D.‚ human factors‚ San Juan Capistrano; Anil Khadilkar‚ Ph.D.‚ biomechanist‚ Pacific Palisades; Edward W. Kames‚ Ph.D.‚ human factors‚ Lakewood‚ Colo.

Medical Experts: Plaintiff – Kevin Gerhart‚ M.D.‚ Ph.D.‚ spinal cord injury‚ San Diego; Donna Barras‚ M.D.‚ rehabilitation‚ Buena Park; Richard L. Moore‚ Ph.D.‚ rehabilitation‚ Waynoka‚ Okla.

Facts: The plaintiff‚ a 38-year-old shipyard worker‚ was painting the bottom hull a ship in dry dock‚ while standing on a mobile hydraulic elevating platform lift. He accidentally leaned over a control lever‚ causing the platform to rise‚ pinning his neck between the platform railing and the hull of the ship. The plaintiff suffered severe spinal cord injuries resulting in quadriplegia. The plaintiff brought this action against the defendants‚ the manufacturer and lessor of the subject lift‚ based on negligent design‚ strict liability and failure to warn theories of recovery.

Contentions: The plaintiff contended that the lift was defectively designed in that the lift control level was unguarded‚ permitting inadvertent activation by the operator. The plaintiff also contended that the manufacturer had failed to warn of the danger in inadvertent activation.

The defendants’ contentions were not disclosed.

Injuries: The plaintiff alleged he suffered spinal cord injuries resulting in quadriplegia.

Specials Claimed: MEDS $860‚000: LOE $49‚591; Future LOE $664‚000.

Settlement Discussions: The settlement discussions were not disclosed.

Mediation: Mediation sessions were held before Judge Harry McCue. They did not resolve the matter.

Other Information: The settlement was reached approximately one year after the case was filed.

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