Recycling worker and truck manufacturer reportedly reach $6.5 million settlement in injury case
Attorneys representing a man who sustained serious bodily injuries after being run over by the recycling truck on which he was working recently announced that a $6.5 million settlement had been reached in the case between the plaintiff and the company that manufactured the body of the commercial truck. The settlement arises out of litigation initiated back in the spring of 2010 by Keenan Chisolm, a Berks County man who worked for Norristown, Pa.-based JP Mascaro & Sons, a residential and commercial waste hauling company. Chisolm’s lawsuit stated that one day back in the fall of 2008, when the plaintiff, then 26 years old, was in the process of collecting recyclables from a residential street in Exeter Township, Berks County, he was run over by the truck after he slipped and fell under the vehicle’s wheels. The lawsuit, which was filed in Philadelphia despite the fact that the incident occurred in Berks County, claimed that the truck’s tires drove over Chisolm’s pelvis and lower abdomen, causing him to sustain internal organ injuries. “The driver felt a bump, but being unable to ascertain its cause, stopped and reversed the truck, running the tires over plaintiff for a second time, causing plaintiff to sustain additional injuries, which are serious and permanent,” the lawsuit had stated. According to reports, defense attorneys had contended in legal filings that the truck’s driver had simply backed up over Chisolm, but plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Culleton, who handled the case alongside partner Brandon Swartz, asserted that a witness who lived nearby contended that the truck had not backed up over the victim. There was also dispute over whether or not the plaintiff had been run over by the truck once or twice, according to a report in the Legal Intelligencer. The complaint had claimed that the recycling truck that ran Chisolm over was defectively manufactured and designed, and had defective instructions for use and warnings because it required, allowed and enabled workers to stand on the outside of the vehicle and in front of the rear wheels while the truck was moving, without providing fall protection or warnings, and that the vehicle lacked cameras, sensors and other safety devices to prevent worker injury. “The truck’s defective manufacture, design and instructions for use and warnings were a cause of plaintiff’s fall and injuries,” the suit stated. As a result of the incident, the suit said, Chisolm sustained serious injuries including kidney failure, a crushed pelvis, incontinence, bowel dysfunction requiring colostomy, pressure ulcers requiring debridement, fistula of the penis, internal organ damage and displacement, nerve damage, and amputation of the right lower extremity. Chisolm was required to undergo multiple surgeries because of his injuries and he was expected to be under medical care for years to come. The three defendants in the litigation were Conshohocken Steel Products, Inc., the Ambler, Pa.-based company that manufactured the truck’s body; Daimler Trucks of North America; and Sherwood Freightliner, Sterling & Western Star, Inc. Court papers show that the settlement, which was reached in mid-January, and subsequently approved by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Marlene F. Lachman, was between the plaintiff and Conshohocken Steel Products. The Legal Intelligencer reported that Daimler and Sherwood Freightliner had entered into confidential settlements with the plaintiffs earlier in the litigation. Attorney Mary Ellen Conroy, of the Blue Bell, Pa. firm Cipriani & Werner, had represented Conshohocken Steel, records show. The court docket sheet in the case shows that Judge Lachman dismissed as moot a motion by Conshohocken Steel to bifurcate the punitive damages claim because of the fact that the case had settled prior to trial. Records show that the settlement occurred right around the time a trial judge was being assigned to handle the case.