Skyjack sues injury plaintiff’s employer following scissor lift inspection

An inspection of a Skyjack scissor lift allegedly revealed so many defects and mistakes that injury plaintiff Tresean Gines changed his allegations, and Skyjack sued his employer.

Gines amended his complaint in U. S. district court on Aug. 30, and Skyjack filed a third party complaint against Reliable Relamping on Aug. 31.

Skyjack counsel Jacob Taylor of St. Louis claimed Reliable caused Gines’s injuries.

Reliable Relamping rented a Skyjack in 2020 and assigned Gines to install lights on the parking lot at Lowe’s in Fairview Heights.

The lift tipped over and Gines sustained injuries, according to a complaint Ted Gianaris of Alton filed at St. Clair County circuit court in March.

He named Skyjack, United Rentals, and Lowe’s as defendants.

Skyjack removed the action to district court, asserting diverse citizenship for itself in Canada, United Rentals in Connecticut, and Lowe’s in North Carolina.

The parties inspected the parking lot on July 6 and the Skyjack on July 22.

Gianaris moved to amend the complaint on Aug. 29, and District Judge David Dugan granted it on Aug. 30.

On all references to a grade, Gianaris added the word “slope.”

Where the old complaint stated a sensing device didn’t disable the driving and lifting functions, the new one states a tilt alarm didn’t activate.

Gianaris claims neither a cam on a limit switch at cutout height nor a tilt sensor operated appropriately.

He claims safety features didn’t function because of loose screws on the cam.

He alleges Skyjack designed inappropriate screws for the cam, such that when they were loose safety features didn’t function.

Gianaris adds that Skyjack should have designed a redundant cam.

He claims Skyjack failed to warn Gines about using the lift on a slope or grade.

The suit states Skyjack designed lifts without labels instructing operators to perform safety inspections.

He claims that the operator’s manual wasn’t with the lift.

Gianaris made similar changes in allegations against United Rentals.

He added allegations against Lowe’s, stating it didn’t warn Gines of the slope or grade, it required him to work there, and it allowed him to work there.

Skyjack’s third party complaint interpreted results of the inspection as evidence of negligence on the part of Reliable Relamping.

Taylor claims Reliable was liable for contribution up to the amount of its liability under Illinois worker’s compensation law.

He claims liability is no less than $99,342.07, the amount Reliable paid to settle a worker’s compensation claim that arose from the incident.

“Reliable’s liability under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act exceeds the amount of its settlement,” he wrote.

Taylor claims Skyjack designed the lift to mitigate the risk of tipping.

He claims Skyjack included operating manuals with lifts and affixed labels warning against operation under conditions that create a risk, including grades and slopes.

He alleges the manual instructs operators to test before each use to determine whether precautions related to tipping are functioning.

Taylor also claims the manual requires appropriate training.

He claims Gines drove the lift in a drainage area. It allegedly tilted because the left wheels were on the slope side, elevating them above the right wheels.

He adds that the platform swayed for 45 seconds, and Gines didn’t lower it.

Taylor alleges the slope was greater than 1.5 degrees, exceeding a maximum at which a tilt switch activates.

He claims it prevents an operator from elevating a platform past seven feet.

The third party complaint states the switch was operating properly at the time of the incident but didn’t prevent the platform from elevating beyond seven feet.

He claims it also failed function tests from the manual.

Taylor alleges further inspection and testing revealed a high speed limit switch was not properly activated.

He claims a cam wasn’t in a correct position and screws weren’t tightened.

The lift allegedly passed function tests after the cam was placed in the correct position and the screws were tightened.

Taylor claims the manual with the lift was different from the one Skyjack included.

He alleges Reliable either didn’t perform tests or allowed Gines to use the lift despite the fact that it didn’t pass tests.

He claims a deposition of Gines confirmed Reliable’s failure to take precautions.

Gines allegedly testified he was not properly trained and never read the manual.

He testified he never inspected or tested the lift and didn’t inspect the parking lot.

Gines testified that Reliable didn’t warn him about operating in the drainage area.

He also allegedly testified he wouldn’t have used the lift after it failed tests.

Gines testified he wouldn’t have operated the lift in the drainage area if he had been familiar with Skyjack’s instructions and warnings.

Taylor denies liability but adds that if Skyjack is liable, such damages are the result of Reliable breaching its duties.

Dugan has set trial for next June.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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