TDR and the Nelson Mullins firm recently helped their client obtain a 1% liability allocation following a two week jury trial in Will County, Illinois. The case stemmed from a warehouse accident in April 2014. At that time, a sales representative was visiting a distributor’s warehouse. The distributor offered the sales representative a ride on a turret stock picker, in violation of warnings on the equipment, warnings in the operator’s manual, and in violation of the warehouse’s own standard operating procedures.

The distributor placed the sales representative on the operator’s platform and raised her nearly 50 feet in the air.  The forklift operator caused the operator’s platform to hang up on a ceiling beam but failed to discover his error. The sales representative was seriously injured when the platform broke free from the beam and fell approximately 12 feet.

The sales representative filed a personal injury action against the distributor, the forklift manufacturer, and the forklift manufacturer’s on-site service technician who was called to help at the incident. Plaintiff alleged that the manufacturer’s technician’s actions had caused the platform to fail.

The distributor’s insurers settled all of plaintiff’s personal injury claims for a confidential amount and then pursued a contribution action against the forklift manufacturer. The insurers alleged negligent maintenance and strict product liability theories against the manufacturer.

After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict finding the distributor was 99% at fault and allocated only 1% of fault to the forklift manufacturer.

TDR partner, Dan Stanner, represented the forklift manufacturer at trial along with the manufacturer’s national counsel, Thomas Cullen, from Nelson, Mullens’ Nashville office.