Defense Takes the "Bloom" Off Maritime Lawsuit
Won a defense verdict in a maritime case following a two-week trial in New Jersey. Our client, a stevedore company responsible for discharging cargo ships, had off-loaded telephone pole-sized pillars of solid steel, known as "blooms," from a ship at a marine terminal port and stacked them on the pier. The plaintiff was a supervisor for the port owner, whose company was responsible for subsequently loading the blooms by forklift onto trucks for delivery to the end user. During the truck loading process, the forklift operator and our client's "checker" (responsible for insuring that the correct inventory was being loaded and shipped) experienced difficulty loading the last of three blooms onto a truck. The plaintiff, as supervisor of the forklift operator, stopped to assist. While attempting a routine repositioning procedure, the bloom, which weighed approximately seven tons, inadvertently rolled off the forklift blades, crushing the plaintiff's right leg and necessitating an above-the-knee amputation. The plaintiff alleged that the accident and injury resulted from our client's negligence with improperly stacking the blooms after discharge, as well as the checker's involvement during the repositioning procedure. The plaintiff's demand was $3.5 million. The jury ultimately concluded that any negligence of our client did not proximately cause the accident but, rather, the accident was caused by the conduct of the forklift operator and the plaintiff himself.