MARTINSBURG -- A Berkeley County man is suing three companies and four men after his legs were crushed in an accident at a General Motors plant.

In a suit filed Feb. 23, Anthony E. Meacham and his wife Sharon say the Oct. 13, 2005, accident was caused by the negligence of Meacham's employer, Material Handling Equipment Erectors Inc., as well as Speedrack-Midwest Inc., General Motors Corp., Raymond Kenny, John Gerhardt, Steve Gougen and Allan Johnson.

The GM company had contracted with Speedrack to disassemble shelving units at GM's Martinsburg warehouse, and Speedrack subcontracted with MHEE.

Defendants Kenny, Gerhardt, Gougen and Johnson were employed by GM, according to the suit, which was filed by attorney Harry Waddell in Berkeley Circuit Court.

The plaintiff was working with three other employees, and all of them were instructed by a supervisor to place 40 shelving decks on a platform that was attached by a chain to a forklift. The suit claims the forklift was not designed to lift that much weight.

Meacham was instructed to stand on the platform and help load shelving units. The suit also says the platform was not used according to manufacturer recommendations, because it was not designed to lift employees.

Meacham was severely injured after the forklift tipped and he fell off the platform. Then the shelf decking that had been stacked on the platform fell on top of Meacham and crushed his legs.

Several bones in his legs were fractured, and his left leg eventually had to be amputated.

Meacham claims the defendants created an unsafe work environment, and as a direct result of their negligence he suffered permanent injury, great physical and emotional pain, medical expenses, loss of income and loss of enjoyment of life.

He and his wife are seeking an amount yet to be determined, and they are requesting a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David H. Sanders.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 06-C-122

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