In a recent settlement with Skyjack, Inc. and Ahern Rentals, Inc., Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and colleague, Sean Claggett and his team received a significant recovery for a client who suffered numerous debilitating injuries, including brain shear and frontal lobe injuries as a result of a horrific fall from a scissor lift.
In October of 2007, as the plaintiff was installing air conditioning duct work in a hotel ceiling from the platform of a Skyjack scissor lift, his tool belt caught the underside of the top guardrail causing it to completely separate from the lift. Plaintiff fell 22 feet to the ground below, landing face first on the concrete floor.
The discovery and proof in the case was a constant battle of finger pointing between the manufacturer (Skyjack) and the equipment rental service (Ahern). Among other facts, Mr. Claggett and his team were ultimately discovered:
- Skyjack never physically tested the amount of force the guardrail could withstand in this design in accordance with ANSI standards, prior to the incident.
- One or more of the decals Skyjack placed on the scissor lift were false. The false decals represented to the user that the guardrails had been tested and complied with industry safety standards, when in fact the guardrails had not been properly tested in accordance with those standards, and even if they were tested they did not meet minimum industry safety standards.
- There was an economically feasible alternative design available in 2004 when the lift was placed on the market. Skyjack FINALLY changed the design in December, 2012, however, Skyjack has not recalled the tens of thousands of defective machines.
- Several subsequent similar fall incidents have occurred since this plaintiff’s incident in 2007, which appear to be related to the defective railing design.
- Ahern representatives testified that they see bent guardrails “all the time” and their policy was to straighten them or replace them.
- Ahern also admitted that during a year they replace some 35,000 of the pins designed to hold the guardrail in place.
The plaintiff’s medical expenses exceeded $387,000 with future medical expenses of approx. $2.4MM. Plaintiff’s broken bones and other injuries are too numerous to list in this short summary with his medical records in excess of 4,300 pages. His brain injury is so severe that his mother has been ordered and appointed as his legal guardian.
Mr. Claggett, founding member of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, concentrates his practice representing plaintiffs in substantial personal injury and products liability cases. In 2010, Sean was named Alumni of the Year for the Boyd School of Law at UNLV where he teaches Law Practice Management.
Thanks to Sean Claggett from citizens everywhere for your diligent efforts in keeping us safe and corporate America accountable!
Senior Vice President