$2.7 Million Settlement for Arm Amputation Caused by Disabled Safety Devices

Julio Martinez-Carassco was working for Ronell Managed Services LLC, a company that cleans and services industrial equipment.  The Ronell company sent Martinez-Carassco to work at the Premio Foods Inc. processing plant. The plant’s equipment included an industrial blending and mixing machine manufactured by Apache Stainless Group.

As the mixer’s large metal paddles were turning, Martinez-Carassco began washing the machine’s opened discharge doors with a hose. The moving panels contacted Martinez-Carassco’s hose pulling his left arm into the mixer and severing the arm below the elbow.

Emergency room physicians attempted, but were unable to reattach the arm. Unfortunately, the arm was surgically amputated at the elbow. Although he was fitted for prosthesis, he rarely wears it. Martinez-Carassco’s medical expenses totaled approximately $300,000.

Martinez-Carassco sued Premio alleging that the plant personnel bypassed safety devices on the machine that would have prevented the paddles from moving while the discharged doors were open.

Martinez-Carassco also sued Ronell alleging that the workers’ compensation bar or exclusive remedy did not apply to him because his employer had trained him to clean the machine while the paddles were moving, despite knowing there was a substantial certainty of injury. Furthermore, Martinez-Carassco brought a design defect claim against Apache as part of this lawsuit.

Martinez-Carassco did not seek future medical expenses or past or future lost earnings.

Apache argued that the mixer was safe and had been manufactured with the safety devices in place, but they were not on the machine at the time of the incident. Apparently the argument was that the machine was modified and thus Apache should be exonerated from liability. Apache and Ronell argued that Premio was at fault for disabling the safety devices that would have more than likely prevented Martinez-Carassco’s injuries.

Premio argued that Martinez-Carassco’s employer was negligent in directing him to clean the mixer while the paddles were still turning.

At a mediation session, the parties settled for $2,700,000. Premio paid $2,500,000 and Apache and Ronell each paid $100,000. This tragic case was successfully handled by attorney David L. Wikstrom of Springfield, NJ.

Martinez-Carassco v. Apache Stainless Group, No. PAL-4452-14 (N.J. Super. Ct. Passaic County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic work injuries, product liability lawsuits, pharmaceutical defect lawsuits, toxic tort lawsuits, diesel fume injury lawsuits and construction injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including River Grove, Schaumburg, Palatine, Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Barrington, South Holland, Elgin, Franklin Park, Olympia Fields, Mount Prospect, Northfield, Northlake, Tinley Park, Skokie, South Chicago Heights, Prospect Heights, Maywood, Alsip, Barrington Hills, Chicago (Rogers Park, Roscoe Village, Sheffield, Southport, South Shore, Wrigleyville, West Loop, Garfield Ridge, Edison Park, Edgewater, DePaul University Area, Near Northside, Chinatown, Bueno Park, Portage Park, Ravenswood Gardens, Pulaski Park, Printer’s Row), River Forest, Oak Park and Kenilworth, Ill.

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