SAN DIEGO, Calif. – After a one month court trial, a San Diego Superior Court judge has ordered that Ingersoll Rand pay nearly $1.6 million to Donald Butler, a San Diego County resident who was injured while performing routine maintenance work on a piece of equipment manufactured by the defendant.
According to trial counsel Robert J. Francavilla, a partner with San Diego-based Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt and Penfield, the Honorable Judith Hayes ruled in favor of his client, a 45-year-old heavy equipment mechanic, in the case against Ingersoll Rand, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of construction and mining machinery.
According to Francavilla, who tried the case along with firm associate Thomas D. Luneau, Butler was injured in August, 2002 while welding on the deck of a blast hole drill — a large machine similar in size to a tall crane — on the Olivenhain Dam project in Escondido. “He fell from the 3 1/2 foot high drill deck which had an uneven surface and no guard rail,” Francavilla explained. “Amazingly, this huge sophisticated machine offered absolutely no fall protection, which we felt was clearly the fault of the manufacturer. After a month of careful deliberation, the judge found that the product was defective.”
As the result of his fall, Butler, formerly employed as a heavy equipment mechanic, is unable to work in that capacity. He suffered a knee injury, which required major surgery and also aggravated a pre-existing neck condition, requiring two additional surgeries.
“In light of the judge’s decision, it is Mr. Butler’s hope the defendant will take steps to correct the safety problem on its other machines so nobody else will be seriously injured,” said Francavilla.
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