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$5 Million Recovery for Metalworker’s Arm Amputation Injury

Ryan Boylan, who was employed as a Melt Line operator at Reading Alloys, a metal fabrication plant in Robesonia, Pennsylvania, was 37 years old on December 23, 2014, when he reached into an unguarded nip point of a conveyor system to retrieve a sparkler that had inadvertently fallen into the unguarded gap. The system suddenly indexed, and Boylan’s arm was crushed when it became pinned in the machinery.

Boylan was taken to Reading Hospital, where he underwent a below-the-elbow “guillotine amputation” later that day. He subsequently required three additional surgeries. Boylan has not been able to work since the accident and has suffered from depression.

Feldman Shepherd attorneys Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis filed suit on Boylan’s behalf in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Ametek, Reading Alloys’ parent corporation; Han-Tek, which designed, manufactured and installed the Melt Line’s conveyor system; Wily Machine, which along with Aquajet, designed and built components for the line; and SSM Group, which performed design and engineering work.

The parties agreed that this particular area of the production line required guarding to protect workers from this exact mechanism of injury. However, the defendants disagreed among themselves as to which entity was responsible for guarding at this particular location. Ametek, which had paid more than $550,000 in workers’ compensation benefits to Boylan, additionally contested liability based upon a Compromise and Release that Boylan had executed in its favor in connection with his workers’ compensation claim, and further contended that it was entitled to immunity as his employer.

The $5 million settlement, which included a waiver of the workers’ compensation lien by Ametek, was reached following more than 12 hours of mediation on January 9, 2020, before retired Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Annette Rizzo. The defendants did not disclose their individual contributions to the settlement.

Ed Goldis, the lead attorney on the case, was responsible for developing the theories of liability, conducting the depositions of 15 witnesses and successfully opposing multiple motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants. “This case presented unique factual and legal challenges,” Goldis said. “We are gratified that we were able to overcome the significant defenses presented and obtain a result that will be life-changing for our client.”