Attorneys Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann, and Edward S. Goldis represented plaintiff Christopher Hedlund, a sales associate at the Paoli Acme Markets location, who was working in a large storage area in the back of the store. As he attempted to remove two pieces of cardboard that were stuck in the store’s cardboard box baler, a hydraulic cylinder rod that supports the 800 lb. steel plate used to compress the cardboard suddenly fractured, causing the plate to drop on his arms, crushing them between the plate and the baler door.
Feldman, Mann, and Goldis filed a lawsuit on Mr. Hedlund’s behalf, contending that the design of the baler was defective in that it incorporated an undersized cylinder to plate connection that was the only support for the 800 lb. platen. Defendant Marathon, the manufacturer, also failed to include on this model baler any safety features that would protect operators in the event of a cylinder failure, although it included a safety cable that would have prevented this tragic accident on other model balers.
Plaintiff also contended that the installation of the hydraulic cylinder by defendant Tec Serve following an almost identical failure that occurred in 2007 was negligent; when the accident cylinder was installed by Tec Serve, only two of the four required fastener bolts were used, and the two fastener bolts which were installed were never properly tightened. As a result, excessive stress was placed on the cylinder rod, which caused the catastrophic fracture and resulting accident.
Finally, plaintiff argued that the accident cylinder rod, which was rebuilt by defendant Ram Hydraulics, Inc., had not been properly inspected to insure that it was free from defects at the time of sale to Tec Serve.
Mr. Hedlund sustained bilateral crush injuries to both arms. Following a number of surgeries, he was left with significant deficits in both upper extremities, although he recovered sufficiently to live independently. After mediation, the case settled for $7.9 million.
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