Defective Maintenance Stand Causes Mechanic's Death.
Lewis & Roberts represented the widow of a deceased airplane mechanic who fell to his death from a raised work platform. The platform was a rolling maintenance stand designed to lower jet engines from commercial planes for maintenance. A series of moving parts allowed the engine to be lowered through the stand. The stand had been refurbished by a company outside of North Carolina prior to the incident. The accident happened in North Carolina. Our client was working on the stand for the first time and had received no training on its design or functional use. The company that refurbished the stand had changed the paint scheme when they refurbished it such that the moving parts camouflaged and hid an opening in the platform from view. As our client was moving one of the platform panels, in conformity with its design, he could not see that a large opening was being created under his feet. As he moved this panel, an opening in the platform was suddenly created, and our client fell 25 feet to his death. Jim Roberts filed the case in Federal Court in North Carolina.
Diligent Discovery Found the Evidence
During the lawsuit we uncovered 15 year old photographs of the stand that proved the original design included warning signs and a paint pattern that would have alerted our client of the danger. The defendant removed all of these safety measures when it refurbished the stand. We retained a reconstruction engineering expert who prepared an animation of the accident recreating the accident and showing the defect in the platform. The computer animation was based on our investigation of the accident and showed the missing safety provisions. The forensic recreation was critical in forcing the defendant’s insurance company to pay $2,000,000 to settle the case.
Jim Roberts was lead counsel for the plaintiff.