Case upheld against tannery forklift death11 May 2009
An appeals court has upheld a verdict against Crown Equipment Corp, a US forklift manufacturer, in the forklift-related death of operator Thomas Brown on August 1, 2003 at Prime Tanning Co Inc in Berwick, Maine.
The law department at Crown have expressed disappointment at the decision of the first circuit US Court of Appeals in Boston and concern for what the decision says to the manufacturing community. Crown is considering other legal options.
While moving chemicals in a storage area, Brown was asphyxiated. His chest was compressed between a shelving unit and the dashboard of a 1989 Crown stand-up forklift. Prime Tanning was the third owner of the forklift. The trial court in Portland, Maine found the Crown design safe but cited Crown's post-sale failure to warn in making an award.
The trial court was instructed to recalculate the damages award, which could exceed USD1.85 million including pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and legal costs. ‘The amount of the change is not material,' says John G Maxa, Crown vice president and general counsel.