PetSmart manager sues overhead garage door manufacturer over workplace injury

By Jon Campisi | Mar 4, 2013

The manager of a Pennsylvania retail store is suing the makers of an overhead garage

door over claims that the device came down and shattered her shoulder and arm, all the while pinning her to the ground, during an incident in the warehouse of her store in the summer of 2011.

Keri Escobar, of Saylorsburg, Pa., who was employed as a support manager for PetSmart at the company’s Stroudsburg location, filed suit on Feb. 27 against Hegins, Pa.-based Ed-Way Erectors Inc., San Antonio, TX-based Miner Fleet Management Group, and Harrisburg-based Modern Handling Equipment Company and Modern Group LTD., over injuries she allegedly sustained on July 27, 2011.

Construction was being done at the PetSmart store by outside contractors during her shift that day, and at one point the workers needed to remove some debris from the store by way of the loading dock area, the lawsuit states.

At this time, Escobar went to open the TKO Jr. Welterweight Dock Door manufactured and sold by the defendants to allow the construction workers to gain access to the trash receptacles outside of the store.

While waiting for the workers to finish up, Escobar was injured when the device, described as an overhead roll-up commercial garage door, came down on top of her, shattering her shoulder and arm and pinning her to the ground, the complaint states.

The suit claims that the torsion spring had failed and had too little torque to counter-balance the weight of the door.

The contractors ended up having to come to Escobar’s aid and lift the door off of her body.

As a result of the incident, the lawsuit states, Escobar sustained numerous injuries, including, but not limited to, should fractures requiring total shoulder replacement surgery, a decreased range of motion, impairment in the use and function of her right upper extremity, neurocognitive deficits, mild traumatic brain injury, concussion syndrome, contusions and abrasions of the head and neck, and severe mental and emotional distress.

At the time of the incident, Escobar also briefly lost consciousness due to a concussion, and she has gone on to suffer from post-traumatic seizures and acute post-traumatic headaches, the suit claims.

Escobar is also expected to need additional medical attention in the future, including further surgeries and hospitalizations and physical and occupational therapy.

“As a result of the injuries suffered on July 27, 2011, plaintiff Keri Escobar has endured and will endure for the rest of her life tremendous pain, suffering, embarrassment, self-consciousness and loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures,” the complaint states.

The plaintiff has also suffered earnings losses and lost future earning capacity, the suit claims.

The complaint contains various counts of negligence and strict liability against each of the defendants.

The complaint also alleges that defendant Miner disposed of the torsion spring that was allegedly the cause of the plaintiff’s accident, not giving Escobar an opportunity to examine it.

Escobar seeks more than $50,000 in compensatory damages, plus costs, delay damages and other court relief.

Escobar is being represented by Philadelphia attorneys Martin K. Brigham and Regina M. Foley of the firm Raynes McCarty.


The case ID number is 130202948. 

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