CHARLESTON - A man is suing Peerless Block & Brick Co. for injuries he allegedly sustained from falling from a forklift step.

On Nov. 8, 2011, Alvie G. Burgess was employed by Peerless as a general laborer and was required to transport block, brick and stone to areas throughout West Virginia and he was required to load/unload the materials using a Princeton PiggyBack forklift that was attached to the trailer's mounting system, according to a complaint filed Sept. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Burgess claims before loading/unloading, he was required to mount and dismount the forklift and the forklift, which contained a step used for mounting and dismount, was in an unsafe condition inasmuch as the grip-resistant coating/pad was torn, worn and/or otherwise provided no slip resistance.

Prior to the date of the incident, Burgess and his co-workers reported to their supervisor and management that the surface coating/pad of the step contained no grip resistance and was unsafe and needed repaired and/or replaced, according to the suit.

Burgess claims despite knowledge of the grip surface being unsafe, the defendant intentionally exposed him to its unsafe condition.

The forklift step was also in excess of four feet off the ground surface, which is in violation of federal and state safety regulations, according to the suit.

Burgess claims as he attempted to descend the step, his foot slipped and he fell several feet to the ground, sustaining severe and disabling injuries to his spine.

As a direct and proximate result of Peerless Block's actions and omissions, Burgess sustained severe and permanent injuries and damages, according to the suit.

Burgess is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Brett J. Preston and Dan R. Snuffer of Preston & Salango PLLC and J. Kristofer Cormany of Cormany Law PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1724

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