$320,000 Federal Jury Verdict Awarded for Worker’s Fall Injury in Coal Mine

On May 12, 2011, the plaintiff, John Barrow IV, age 58, was a coal mine forklift operator. Barrow walked into a coal mine near Equality, Ill., when a hydraulic hose on the ground caused him to fall and land on his back. The defendant in this case, Temper Fabricators, a fabrication contractor working at the mine, had left several steel-reinforced hydraulic hoses lying across a walkway just inside the entrance to the mine’s main warehouse.

Barrow apparently did not see the hoses when he entered the mine after walking in from the outdoor sunlight. He stepped on one of the hoses, which then rolled out from under his foot. While falling, he sustained lower back injuries that required spinal fusion surgery and left him with ongoing pain, disability and severe sexual dysfunction.

Barrow’s wife, Kimberlee, claimed loss of consortium. The Barrows asserted that the Temper Fabricator’s employees were at fault for choosing not to post any barricades or warning flags before leaving the hoses unattended. The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) regulations required all safety hazards to be barricaded or flagged off. Employees of contractors were subject to the same MSHA safety regulations as employees of mine owners.

The defendant argued that Barrow was contributorily negligent for not seeing and avoiding the hoses.  They also argued that he was not injured in the fall and that his spinal injury was unrelated to this incident. Reportedly the jury deliberated for four hours.

The jury verdict of $320,000 was the total amount of the verdict for both Barrows. The attorneys representing the Barrows were Patrick A. Watts and Nathan D. Sturycz.

At trial, the Barrows presented an expert in neurosurgery while the defendant presented an expert in orthopedic surgery. This case was tried before a federal jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois at East St. Louis, Ill.

John Barrow IV, Kimberlee Barrow v. Temper Fabricators, LLC, No. 13 C 563 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois – East St. Louis, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling work injury cases, construction site injury cases, car crash cases, truck accident cases, bicycle accident cases and motorcycle accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie, Chicago (Pulaski Park, West Ridge, Uptown, Andersonville, Edgewater, Lakeview, Old Town, Gold Coast, Goose Island, Greek Town, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Irving Park, Albany Park, Marquette Park, Englewood, Washington Park, Stockyards, Burnside, Chatham, Avalon Park, Hyde Park, Oakland, Kenwood, Jackson Park, East Side, Lake Calumet, Riverdale, Roseland), Bridgeview, Justice, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Willowbrook and Northbrook, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an admitted member of both the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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