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$9M Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Over Worker Crushed by Forklift

Andrew Duffy and E. Douglas DiSandro Jr.

Andrew Duffy and E. Douglas DiSandro Jr., Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky.

A man whose leg was amputated after being run over by a forklift twice has settled for $9 million his lawsuit against a series of companies and the staffing agency that assigned him to the warehouse where he was injured.

The settlement, announced Tuesday by the law firm of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, was reached between plaintiff Charles Jones and defendants Mill Corp., Newman & Company, and Bridgeview Paper Company, United States Recycling and staffing agency Corestaff Inc.

According to the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum, Jones was run over twice by a forklift operated by Mill Corp. employee Emmitt Johnson at the Newman & Company warehouse in North Philadelphia in July 2015.

"Mr. Johnson readily admits that, when he ran over Charles, he was not looking where he was going, but instead was operating the forklift in reverse while counting bales of stacked material," Jones' papers said. "He admits he never sounded his horn and never brought the forklift to a stop before reversing around the corner. He admits that his conduct was 'inexcusable from a safety standpoint.' In sum, Mr. Johnson admits that he violated all basic rules of forklift safety on the date of this tragedy, as a direct result of which he did not see Charles and ran him over."

Andrew Duffy of Saltz Mongeluzzi represented Jones along with E. Douglas DiSandro Jr.

“This was much more than a simple forklift accident case. Defendants raised numerous, workplace-specific defenses that we targeted and attacked throughout discovery," Duffy said.  "We are pleased that Mr. Jones will now receive the care he requires as well as the compensation he deserves.”

After the accident, Jones underwent nine surgeries in an effort to save his leg, but in the end was forced to undergo a below-the-knee amputation.

The plaintiff alleged that Johnson had a record showing "lack of concern for safety and incompetent and inadequate safety training."

Newman & Company and the related defendants claimed that the accident was caused by comparative negligence on Jones' part.

"Mr. Jones inexplicably walked directly to where the forklift operator was traveling, and never made his presence known to the operator," court papers said.

The defendants alleged that Corestaff owed it and the other companies a duty of defense and indemnity based on an agreement between the entities. They claimed the accident triggered Corestaff's duty to defend "regardless of whether the accident was caused in whole or in part by" the other defendants, court papers said.

Corestaff, in its pretrial papers, said, "Corestaff, as plaintiff’s employer, is immune from plaintiff’s claims directly. Corestaff was joined into the case by Newman and Mill, who argue that Corestaff owes defense and indemnity to them vis a vis a 2003 addendum to a contract that does not exist, even after Newman and Mill provided a subsequent 'agreement' which Corestaff expressly refused to execute without significant changes, indicating a lack of a meeting of the minds. Corestaff does not owe defendants defense and/or indemnity."

Corestaff's attorney, Susan Engle of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris, Ledva & Meyers, declined to comment.

Bradley Vance, the attorney for Mill Corp., Newman & Company, Bridgeview Paper Company, and United States Recycling, did not respond to a request for comment.