$1,000,000 – Crane Injury Involving CMC Equipment Rental Co., Inc. and Others

Plaintiff Bruce Newcomb, age 57 at the time of the incident, was injured on December 1, 1989, when a crane contacted an overhead power line at an Amtrak bridge project. Plaintiff was the foreman of an ironworking crew. The crew was assigned the task of unloading steel beams off of a flatbed tractor-trailer to a grassy storage area.

In the course of moving the steel, the crane operator extended the boom of the crane and contacted a 138,000-volt power line causing the electricity to flow through the cable line of the crane and into the steel he was steadying.

Plaintiff sustained electrical burns to his hands and feet, a disputed herniated cervical disc, a torn bicep muscle, possible hearing loss, and a contested claim of memory loss and impairment of attention span.

Plaintiff brought suit against CMC Equipment Rental Company, Inc., the owner, and lessor of the crane and its operator who contacted the power line in violation of OSHA, New Jersey state law, and industry standards. Plaintiffs also brought suit against Crossing Construction Company, the general contractor for the project alleging that it failed to enforce Amtrak regulations regarding the operation of cranes near overhead power lines and failed to safely train the workers on the project. Plaintiffs also contended that Amtrak had failed to enforce its own safety regulations and ensure that the workers were appropriately trained regarding their job site requirements.

Plaintiff was hospitalized for 22 days after the accident and had three surgical grafting procedures on his hands and feet. He was out of work for approximately 10 months after the accident and then returned to his former position as a foreman. His total past lost wages were approximately $38,000 and his medical bills were approximately $88,000.00.

The case settled for One Million Dollars with CMC Equipment paying $500,000 and Amtrak and Crossing Construction paying $475,000 and a designer paying $25,000.

Plaintiffs’ Experts: Alan Cohen, P.E., liability of general contractor, Conshohocken, PA; Stephen A. Estrin, CE, CSSD, applicability of OSHA regulations; liability of Amtrak, Mahopac, NY; Truet Thompson, Ph.D., electrical safety, Temple, AZ; Andrew Verzilli, Ph.D., economics, Philadelphia; Peter Nesbitt, M.A., vocational rehabilitation, Philadelphia

Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Gary Solomon, of Daniels, Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Barrett, Philadelphia.

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