Richard L. Jones filed suit against West Penn Power Company, Cargotek, Larry’s Homes of Pa., Inc. Walker Excavating and C&W Builders after sustaining when the boom of a truck he was operating struck a live overhead electrical wire.
Owned by West Penn Power, the wire sent a direct electrical current through the boom that was hard-wired into the handheld remote control the Plaintiff was operating. The incident caused severe electrical burns and quadriplegia, causing Jones to live in a nursing home and require twenty-four hours of medical care a day, therapy, and medication for the remainder of his life.
The Plaintiff claimed that the hardwired remote control was defectively designed and manufactured when safer alternatives, such as fiber-optic or radio-remote controls, were manufactures and available for use in the industry. Jones further claimed that the manufacturer of the remote control engaged in a faulty notification program to owners and operators of the boom trucks concerning the hazard in the hard-wired devices.
The Plaintiff also filed suit against West Penn Power, claiming the company was contracted to come to the site of the residential project prior to the accident. More so, the power company should have de-energized the lines or placed protective hoses, sleeves or barriers over them.
The Plaintiff also noted that the general contractor, Larry’s Homes of Pa., Inc., never pre-inspected the property prior to the commencement of the construction. Furthermore, the general contractor was never present on the construction site prior to the accident. Jones contended that the masonry subcontractors failed to protect the safety of the work site, despite knowing the boom truck became stuck in the mud in close proximity of the overhead wires.
The Defense theory claimed that Jones was negligent to look out and avoid the power lines. Also, the Contractor’s Defense claimed that they provided a safe work site, while West Penn Power claimed they had no duty to de-energize or protect the power lines.
R. Stanton Wettick granted a non-suit for the masonry subcontractor.
Prior to the trial, the plaintiff settled with all the defendants for $7.9 million, except the masonry subcontractor.