HUNTINGTON -- An employee is suing Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and his supervisor after he claims he was injured while performing his work duties.

On Aug. 4, 2009, Joseph Ferris was assigned by Asplundh and his supervisor, Charles Blosser, to be a tree trimmer performing storm work, according to a complaint filed July 6 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Ferris claims he was required to utilize a bucket truck to reach high tree limbs that required trimming due to weather damage and/or vegetation growth that obstructed or touched utility lines.

With the use of the bucket truck, Ferris utilized a chain saw and other equipment to remove the vegetation from utility corridors, according to the suit.

Ferris claims high winds, thunder, lightning and rain conditions existed on the day of the accident, which created an unsafe working condition for people working in the bucket trucks or using chain saws.

The defendants knew that the line clearance should not be performed during adverse weather conditions, but instructed Ferris to continue the work, even after he raised concerns about working in the unsafe weather, according to the suit.

Ferris claims while trimming vegetation in the unsafe weather condition, high winds pushed a large branch into him, which caused him to reflexively reach out and grab the branch.

When reaching out toward the branch, the chain saw Ferris was using tore into the soft tissue of his wrist, cutting large portions of his nerves, skin, muscles and tendons, according to the suit.

Ferris claims he has had to undergo multiple surgeries on his hand to repair damage to his nerves, skin, muscles and tendons in his forearm, hand and wrist, but despite the medical treatment, he has suffered permanent injuries.

The defendants were negligent in allowed employees to work in the unsafe working condition and caused Ferris' injuries, according to the suit.

Ferris and his wife, Melissa D. Ferris, are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by James J. Stemple and Chad S. Lovejoy.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 11-C-483

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