Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

H&M employee says collision with fire sprinkler cage gave him traumatic brain injury

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 27, 2018

General court 07

PHILADELPHIA – An H&M store employee who claims to have suffered a traumatic brain injury after his head collided with a fire sprinkler and sprinkler cage at the Plymouth Meeting Mall is suing all of the entities allegedly responsible for his assortment of injuries.

Herman Achterhuis of Wyndmoor filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 13 versus PR Plymouth Meeting Limited Partnership, PREIT Associates, Oliver Fire Protection & Security, Grinnell Fire Protection Solutions and Johnson Controls Fire Protection, L.P., Tyco International (US), Johnson Controls, Simplex Time Recorder Co. and others.

On Feb. 17, 2016, Achterhuis was working at the Plymouth Meeting Mall for the H&M retail clothing store.


“Plaintiff, while acting within the course and scope of his employment, was cleaning, organizing and/or taking inventory in the designated stockroom storage area situation below the defendants’ HVAC platform, plaintiff was caused to violently strike his head against a fire sprinkler and/or sprinkler cage of the stockroom’s fire sprinkler system,” the suit says.

As a result, Achterhuis alleges he suffered the following injuries: Traumatic brain injury, concussion and post-concussive syndrome, a closed-head injury, scalp lacerations, bruising, suturing and scarring, permanent brain lesions, chronic migraine headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity, cognitive injuries and psychological injuries.

The plaintiff argues the defendants failed to provide him a safe place to work, failed to adequately inspect the facility for hazardous conditions and failed to coordinate with other persons and entities to ensure the workplace was safe, in addition to a number of other charges.

For multiple counts of negligence against all defendants, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, including punitive damages, but exclusive of interest and costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Larry Bendesky, Adam J. Pantano and Robert W. Zimmerman of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky in Philadelphia, plus Steven D. Gitman in Narberth.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180201437

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas