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Attorneys Joseph A. Power, Jr. and Thomas M. Power, of Power Rogers & Smith contacted DK Global to produce a presentation for trial that would assist them in representing a 50 year-old man, and former underground labor foreman, who suffered the loss of a leg while working on a deep tunnel project in Chicago. DK Global’s animation supported the plaintiff’s argument alleging that once the work deck was lifted 30 inches off the shaft forms, there was not a safe place for him to exit the work deck to get to the catwalk below, in order to help his co-employees detach the forms from the concrete, as per the design. Instead of stepping down 35 inches to the top rung of the ladder, the plaintiff chose to go around the side of the work deck which the defendant called a pinch point. As plaintiff was exiting the work deck, the crane operator (a co-employee) prematurely and negligently lifted the work deck before the shaft forms were detached from the concrete, causing the substandard fasteners (grade 2) to fracture, and the work deck to shift violently and strike the plaintiff’s leg.

The manufacturer of the work deck settled out just prior to trial. The remaining defendant, a construction contractor, plaintiff’s former employer and alleged co-designer of the work deck, argued they were not subject to strict liability because the deck was sold used as a one-time sale and it was not engaged in the business of placing such products in the stream of commerce. This was a case of first impression in Illinois. The defendant also argued the plaintiff negligently placed himself in a pinch point between the deck and the shaft wall and that his co-employee crane operator applied excessive force which fractured the threaded rods causing the occurrence. During the almost 3 week jury trial, expert testimony also revealed that the used work deck had been refurbished by the new employer after purchase, with grade 2 threaded rod, instead of the original grade 5. A grade 5 threaded rod, as originally provided, would have prevented the incident.

Just prior to final arguments, the case settled for $6.9 million, which included a worker’s comp waiver and Medicare set aside.





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