Ohio company wants workers' injury claim dismissed

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 12, 2009

WHEELING – An Ohio company requested the federal court dismiss a case a worker filed against it in which the employee alleged he was injured after the company refused to provide a ladder to climb scaffolding.

Phillip Ewart was working for The Velotta Company on Jan. 24, 2007 in the Wheeling tunnels when he slipped while climbing scaffolding without a ladder, according to the complaint he filed in Ohio Circuit Court.

Before his fall, Ewart says he asked his direct supervisor to provide a ladder to climb the scaffolding, the suit states.

However, Ewart claims his supervisor told him that no ladder would be provided and that if Ewart failed to climb the scaffolding, he would be fired.

"Due to economic considerations and not wanting to lose his job, Phillip Ewart began climbing up the scaffolding without a ladder," the suit states.

Because of his fall, Ewart sustained personal injuries and had periods of temporary total disability, according to the complaint.

After his injuries, Ewart, filed a workers' compensation claim.

He claims Velotta exposed him to the injury because of an unsafe working condition.

However, Velotta denies all of Ewart's allegations against the company, and claims the suit should be dismissed because Ewart failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The company also contends that there were no unsafe working conditions in the workplace at the time of Ewart's fall.

Velotta removed the case to federal court because it is resident of a different state than Ewart and because Ewart is seeking more than $75,000.

Ewart is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, attorney's fees, costs and pre- and post-judgment interest.

In addition to the dismissal of the case, Velotta is seeking costs, expenses and other relief the court deems just.

Ewart is represented by Ronald William Kasserman of Kasserman Law Offices in Wheeling.

Velotta is represented by David L. Wyant and Daniel A. Tomassetti of Bailey and Wyant in Wheeling.

U.S. District Court case number: 5:09-CV-25

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