Attorneys John M. Dodig and Jason A. Daria obtained a $4
million settlement for a construction laborer who was seriously injured at a
job site along the New Jersey Turnpike when a dump truck backed up into him.
Michael Leon, of Camden, was cleaning concrete from an
expansion joint in a newly paved roadway overpass on Sept. 23, 2013, in East
Windsor Township, when a dump truck delivering asphalt backed up into him,
driving over both his legs and pinning him under the passenger-side rear tires.
Leon was employed by Union Paving, which was the general
contractor on the project. Defendant M.L. Ruberton Construction Company was a
subcontractor retained to install guide rail, including asphalt around the
guide rail posts. Ruberton, which owned the truck, retained Aqua-Tex Transport
to deliver the asphalt. The truck was operated by defendant Joseph Shuhart, who
was an employee of Aqua-Tex.
Shuhart failed to use a “spotter” while backing up, which
was a violation of the New Jersey Commercial Driver License Manual, the
operator’s manual for the truck, and the safety manuals of Aqua-Tex, Ruberton
and Union Paving. Aqua-Tex and Ruberton had hired Shuhart two months prior to
the accident. Shuhart had no experience operating a dump truck, and the two
defendants did not provide him with training on the safety and operation
manuals. Shuhart, Aqua-Tex and Ruberton also failed to inspect and maintain the
truck and its back-up alarm, which was not working properly at the time of the
Several witnesses testified that Leon was wearing earbuds at
the time of the accident, and the defense blamed him, arguing that he could not
hear the back-up alarm.
Leon sustained extensive injuries including crush injuries
and compression neuropathy to his lower extremities, left talar avulsion
fracture, concussion, right and left knee medial meniscus tears, L5-S1
bilateral neural foraminal encroachment, lumbar radiculopathy, lower extremity
infection, cellulitis, sepsis, seroma, abscess, nerve dysfunction, complex
regional pain syndrome, posttraumatic osteoarthritis, posttraumatic stress
disorder and depression. He has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures and
is permanently disabled and cannot return to gainful employment.
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