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Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling obtains summary judgment for general contractor in work site catastrophic injury lawsuit.

 

On October 7, 2011, Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling attorneys Jeff Friedman and Lee Patterson obtained full summary judgment in favor of a general contractor in a lawsuit arising out of catastrophic injuries suffered by an employee of a subcontractor after the trial court found as a matter of law that the employee contributed to cause his injuries and otherwise assumed the risk of his injuries.

 

Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client was a general contractor and the plaintiff was an employee of a subcontractor hired by Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client to assist in the construction of a building at a poultry farm in Northern Alabama. The plaintiff was injured when an all terrain forklift owned by Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client overturned. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff and his employer were using the all terrain forklift to install roofing on the poultry building. The plaintiff elected to ride on the extended forks of the lift along with roofing materials while his employer drove the forklift to position roofing materials for installation. The all terrain forklift overturned on a slope and plaintiff fell approximately 20 feet resulting in significant trauma to both legs. After being airlifted to the hospital, the plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries on both legs over the ensuing months and ultimately underwent a total left hip replacement. The plaintiff never returned to work after the accident.

 

Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client was the only defendant in the subsequent lawsuit. Plaintiff's employer carried no workers compensation insurance leaving plaintiff with significant unpaid medical expenses he sought to recover in the litigation. Plaintiff's employer testified on behalf of the plaintiff that the all terrain forklift supplied by Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client was defective and that he had warned Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client with respect to the alleged defective condition in the days leading up to the accident. Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling defended the case arguing that evidence proved that the plaintiff and his employer were aware of alleged defects in the forklift lift and otherwise misused the forklift in clear violation of written warnings and instructions and that this evidence established plaintiffs' contributory negligence and assumption of the risk. Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling also argued that expert testimony and accident reconstruction proved that the forklift overturned not as a result of any defective condition but because the forklift was misused by the plaintiff and his employer.

 

After hearing oral argument on the parties summary judgment submissions and after considering significant evidentiary submissions that were filed along with the summary judgment pleadings, the trial court entered an Order finding in favor of Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling's client, the general contractor, and granting full summary judgment in the general contractor's favor dismissing all claims as a matter of law.


Contributing Author:

Lee T. Patterson
Lee T. Patterson
Email Address lpatterson@friedman-lawyers.com
Direct Line 205-278-7009
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