$18 Million Settlement
JOHN WIXOM V. DEFFENBAUGH INDUSTRIES
During a “pull-off” procedure, a method of unloading the trailer containing construction materials, Defendant Deffenbaugh Industries’ landfill employee defendant Holmes operated a 3-90C trash compactor to the rear of the trailer being pulled by the truck. Defendant Deffenbaugh Industries’ landfill and Defendant Holmes expected Plaintiff Wixom and his employer or supervisor to step between the 3-90C trash compactor blade and the rear of the trailer in order to attach chains to the blade to effectuate the pull-off.
Plaintiff alleged that at the time, the compactor had a broken throttle pedal and missing spring, an essential safety feature that made it difficult to control/stop the 3-90C trash compactor.
Defendant Holmes was advised by Charles Blubaugh to operate the 3-90C trash compactor in reverse in order to create additional room between the blade and the back of the trailer. Rather than operating the 3-90C trash compactor in reverse, the compactor lunged forward toward Plaintiff Wixom and pinned Plaintiff Wixom between the 3-90C trash compactor and the trailer/truck.
Plaintiff alleged Defendants fell below the standard of care by failing to implement safety policies and procedures for their employees and by improperly using machinery in a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition.
Defendant denied that the missing or broken parts were essential safety features. Defendant further alleged comparative fault on Plaintiff for positioning himself between the compactor and the rear of the trailer.