Monday, March 26, 2012

Despite all the safety efforts, you can still die at work...

From the Scranton Times Tribune:

WASHINGTON TWP. - The Procter & Gamble Paper Products plant employee who died after suffering injuries at the plant Saturday has been identified. 
Jason C. Slavish, 36, of Luzerne, was transported to Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock, where he died at 3 p.m. after the industrial accident at the Wyoming County plant on Saturday. "He died of traumatic head injury, which happened while he was working on a paper- making machine," Wyoming County Chief Coroner Thomas Kukuchka said. 
Few additional details about the accident have been released as the investigation continues. The accident occurred when production was down during a regularly scheduled maintenance program, according to Alex Fried, spokesman for the plant.

My only hope is that the Employer studies this incident as much as possible and learns how it happened and implements procedures so it can't happen again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Even the gas industry truck drivers are nervous about accidents...

The following news article from the Towanda Daily Review demonstrates that not only your average Bradford County motorist is nervous with all the truck traffic, but also the truck drivers.  I'm glad to see that an organization that represents the truck drivers is attempting to limit the amount of truck accidents, collisions and fatalities in our area due to the ever increasing gas industry related truck traffic.

CANTON - A Pennsylvania and New York truck drivers' group concerned about the safety of their current route on Route 14 is asking for assistance from area municipalities.  This week, Canton Borough Council briefly discussed the request from the Professional CDL Drivers of Pennsylvania & New York. A letter dated Feb. 15 was forwarded to the borough from the group. It was not signed by a person. Only the group's name and an email address was provided at the bottom of the letter. 
In the correspondence, the drivers expressed concern about the curves, hills, and lack of shoulders along many sections of Route 14 between Elmira, N.Y. and Trout Run. "I am sure that you are just as aware of the safety record of this stretch of road as we are, with the dozens of accidents, multiple fatalities, with all types of vehicles involved," the group stated in the letter. The drivers claimed they "battled" with their companies to change the route with no success. They said the route saves eight miles.  But the drivers said the "vast improvements" to U.S. Highway 15 have made 15 "a much safer option." 
In the letter, the drivers said they understand that all truck traffic cannot be completely eliminated along Route 14, but said they felt all "Thru Truck Traffic" should be restricted. "In reality, it would only take one town to restrict thru truck traffic to make a difference, but better yet, we would love to see all the towns join together and restrict thru truck traffic, to make a difference and take a stand on traffic safety." 
Council didn't take action on the request, however.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Case of the Short Truck Driver

On June 26, 2007, plaintiff Henry Gfroehrer, 43, a furniture deliveryman, and his passenger and co-plaintiff, Andrew Skelton, also a furniture deliveryman, were in a box truck and traveling on East Mountain Drive, through the intersection with Route 155 North, in Plains Township, when they were involved in a broadside collision with the tractor-trailer driven by Steven Calice, who was driving on Route 155.
Gfroehrer suffered numerous injuries during the accident, including to his head and spine.
Gfroehrer and Skelton sued Calice and his employer, Werner Enterprises. It was alleged that Calice had been negligent in the operation of the tractor-trailer, and that Werner Enterprises was vicariously liable. In addition, the employer was accused of negligent hiring and negligent entrustment.
According to Gfroehrer and Skelton, Calice ignored a sign on a nearby highway indicating that trucks over 10-and-a-half tons were not to use exit 105 (which leads to Route 155 North) and, in proceeding toward Route 115 North, allegedly passed by other signs that clearly would have alerted him that he should not be traveling along the route in question.
Calice allegedly lost control of his tractor-trailer after his brakes caught fire as he traveled at a rate of speed grossly in excess of posted speed limits. After the failure of the brakes, Calice's truck blew the red light at the intersection of Route 115 North and East Mountain Drive, and violently collided with the driver's side of the box truck, which the plaintiffs claimed was lawfully proceeding through a solid green traffic signal.
With respect to the claims against Werner Enterprises individually, plaintiffs' counsel asserted that Calice was unqualified and unfit to drive his tractor-trailer, and that Werner Enterprises knew as much yet allowed him on the road despite his sub-par qualifications and inadequate training.
Plaintiffs' counsel noted that Calice's physical stature (4'10" and 95 pounds) posed practical issues during his training at Werner, as Calice had difficulty reaching the pedals and seeing over the steering wheel. Furthermore, Calice received test results far below those of the average driver-in-training.
The case proceeded to trial with Gfroehrer as the only plaintiff, as Skelton and his wife (who had a derivative claim) settled for an undisclosed amount prior to trial.
Calice stipulated as to negligence, but Werner Enterprises did not.
Werner Enterprises argued at trial that, in light of the fact that Calice's tractor-trailer had been out of control prior to the collision, Gfroehrer should have observed the tractor-trailer approaching, and refrained from entering the intersection.
(In response, Gfroehrer testified that Calice's vehicle gave no indication that it was not going to stop, that Calice did not sound his horn, and that he had not heard any screeching brakes.)
The jury found that Werner Enterprises had been negligent with respect to the accident, and that both the company's and Calice's negligence had been factual causes in bringing about Gfroehrer's injuries.
No contributory negligence was found as against Gfroehrer.
Gfroehrer was awarded a total of $4 million in damages.
Thanks to for this information.  Click here for a full free report, including what type of injuries the Plaintiff suffered that justified such a large verdict.

Pennsylvania Superior to hear cases in Scranton

From the Towanda Daily Review:

The broad range of the cases that come before the Pennsylvania Superior Court will do so at Lackawanna College's Mellow Theater Tuesday, starting at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m. as a three-judge panel bring appellate action to Scranton. The Superior Court is an appellate court which hears all criminal and most civil case appeals from the trial courts in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Elevating that court's profile has been a goal of President Judge Correale Stevens. 
Now in his second year as president judge, this is the second time the court is conducting business in Northeast Pennsylvania. Last year, the court heard arguments at MMI Preparatory School in Hazleton. The court has had other remote sessions around the state. 
"My goal is for people to understand the appellate court process," said Judge Stevens, who earlier in his career was a district attorney in Luzerne County and a state representative. "Most people understand trial courts but don't really grasp the importance or function of appellate courts." 
Perhaps the biggest difference is appellate courts do not hear evidence, or have juries or witnesses. Rather, they hear arguments over points of law - which doesn't make for as compelling television as a trial court. Nevertheless, the far-ranging case are certainly real-life.