On Monday March 21, 2016, Provost Umphrey's Edward Fisher obtained a $4.2 million jury verdict on behalf of Ronda Maddox Evans against NAACO Materials and Handling group. This verdict comes just four months after Fisher obtained a $1.25 million verdict on behalf of a man who was killed on the job while working for Livengood Excavators, Inc. in Pennsylvania.
Ronda Maddox Evans is the widow of plaintiff, Jerry Evans. Evans was employed at International Paper in Lynchburgh, Virginia. On the day of the incident, they were short a person on the third shift and Evans’ supervisor asked him to unload one of the 18 wheeler trailers that was full of 12 rolls of paper that weighed approximately 6,000 pounds apiece. Evans drove the clamp truck, and unloaded the trailer with no problems. After unloading the trailer, Jerry Evans told his co-worker Lamont Lacy that his truck was stuck between the International Paper loading dock and the trailer.
After Lacy helped Evans tow the clamp truck, Lacy watched Evans turn off his engine, take off his seat belt, set his park brake and get off of the truck and walk in between the two trucks. As Evans was crouched down undoing the chain on Lacy’s truck, Lacy became concerned about his exhaust fumes blowing in Evans' face, so he turned around to cut his engine off. When he turned back around, Evans' truck was rolling down the hill. He yelled for Evans to get his attention but Evans was crushed between two forklifts weighing about 24,000 lbs with the clamps on.
The park brake was operator adjustable, meaning that if you turned the park handle to the right, or clockwise, it would increase park brake application and if you turned it to the left it would decrease park brake application. During trial Fisher argued that the adjustable handle was an accident waiting to happen and the only safety feature on this truck for parking was this park brake and the way that they designed it, this safety feature could be completely disabled with a couple of turns of the handle.
"This is a great result for the Evans family, and hopefully this case will help to promote workplace safety moving forward. I owe a thank you to the jurors for their attentiveness during the trial, as well as my trial team for their hard work," says Fisher.
Fisher is an equity partner at Provost Umphrey. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Litigation by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he focuses primarily on industrial accidents, products liability and fire-related injuries and accidents.