Injury at Toyota plant avoidable, suit alleges

By Lawrence Smith | Aug 12, 2009

WINFIELD - A Kanawha County man is suing his employer for a work-related injury he suffered two years ago.

David L. Rogers on June 15 filed suit against Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company of West Virginia. In his complaint filed in Putnam Circuit Court, Rogers, a Charleston resident, alleges an injury he sustained while working on an assembly line was preventable.

TMMCWV is a subsidiary of Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing of North America. According to the company Web site, TEAM is based in Erlanger, Ken., and manufactures 11 of the Japanese automaker's vehicles at its 14 plants throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

From its plant in Buffalo, TMMCWV produces 4-cylinder and V6 engines for plants in Indiana and Canada, and automatic transmission parts for plants in Kentucky, Indiana and Canada.

According to court records, Rogers, 38, was working on one of Toyota's engine line assemblies on June 15, 2007. He began his employment with the company as assembly line team member eight months before.

On that day, Rogers says he was using a hoist to load the head of an engine to the engine block. While using it, Rogers alleges the hoist gave way, and injured him.

Rogers' suit lacks specifics on the extent of his injuries. However, he alleges it has resulted in him enduring "great pain and suffering in mind and body," for which "in the past [has] incurred, and in the future will incur, expenses for medical treatment."

Also, Rogers alleges he has "sustained an impairment of his past, present, and future earning capacity."

The injury, Rogers alleges, was avoidable. He claims that Toyota "had actual knowledge for the existence of such unsafe working condition" yet allowed it "to exist in the workplace which presented a high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death.

Rogers' wife, Teresa, 48, is listed is a co-defendant, and makes a claim for loss of consortium. They are seeking unspecified damages, court costs, attorney fees and interest.

The case is assigned to Judge Phillip M. Stowers

Putnam Circuit Court, Case No. 09-C-181

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