Workplace accident triggers federal lawsuit

By Audrey Holsclaw | Jun 12, 2008

HUNTINGTON -- An Ohio laborer who was severely injured on the job has filed a federal lawsuit against his employer's Huntington factory.

Peachtree Doors & Windows Inc., a Tennessee corporation, and SNE Enterprises Inc., a Delaware corporation, were named as defendants in lawsuit filed earlier this week by Richard Henson of Chesapeake, Ohio.

Henson worked at the Huntingon factory of Peachtree Doors & Windows and SNE Enterprises as a general laborer and helped operate a window shrink wrapping machine. According to the lawsuit, the machine not only had moving parts, but in order to shrink wrap windows properly, it applies heat and pressure to the wrap. Henson claims employees regularly put their arms and hands inside the wrap for windows to be wrapped properly.

Filed by J. Kristofer Cormany of the Charleston firm of Cormany Law, the suit states that on Aug. 21, 2006, Henson was performing his regular duties and put his right arm and hand inside the wrap. However, this time he was caught, and his arm was crushed, burned, and lacerated, which disabled and disfigured him.

Cormany and Henson claim that Peachtree Doors and SNE failed to provide any machine guarding to prevent employees from being crushed or burned, repeatedly and intentionally exposed workers to hazardous conditions in order to perform their regular work duties, failed to implement a lockout system or hazardous energy control program, and failed to train their employees in the safe and proper methods to operate the window shrink wrapping machine. They also believe that Peachtree and SNE deliberately exposed their employees to these conditions, which posed a high risk of injury and possible death.

Henson is seeking a trial by jury to award punitive and compensatory damages for extreme physical pain, mental anguish and suffering; permanent physical impairment, scarring, and disfigurement; annoyance and inconvenience; loss of earning capacity and enjoyment of life; past and future wages, benefits, and medical expenses; pre- and post-judgment interest; and attorney's fees. As these damages will most likely exceed $75,000 and because of the diversity of citizenship in this case, it was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

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