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Personal Injury - Verdicts & Settlements

SUNDAY INDEPENDENT - WILKES-BARRE, PA

By FRED NEY
Staff Writer

Bulldozer Mishap Gets - Moscow Man $3.2 Million Verdict

Largest in Lackawanna County History in Non-Fatal Case

A Wilkes-Barre lawyer has obtained a $3.2 million jury award in Lackawanna County Court against a Drums company. It is the largest jury award in a non-fatal case ever handed down in Lackawanna County.

Atty. Joseph Quinn represented Richard Jones, 45, of Moscow, a heavy equipment operator who was severely injured when a bulldozer rolled over on him in 1988 at a mine reclamation project in Lackawanna County on Archbald Mountain.

Defendant in the case was highway Equipment and Supply Company, Drums.

According to testimony given during the trial, Highway Equipment and Supply Company leased a Liebherr 711 bulldozer for use in the mine reclamation project and Jones was backing the unit off a flat bed lowboy trailer when the dozer began to slide. Ultimately, the dozer rolled over causing Jones to be thrown off the seat and under one of the rollbars of the earth mover.

The incident resulted in a severe fracture to one of Jones' legs. He subsequently underwent four operations and extensive medical treatment. At the time of trial his medical expenses were in excess of $59,000 and testimony indicated that he is at risk for future medical complications.

In presenting the case to the jury, Atty. Quinn argued that the defendant had leased the bulldozer in an "uncrashworthy condition" because the vehicle did not have a seat belt.

But the defendant claimed that the vehicle did have a functioning seat belt when it was leased and that the belt had been deliberately cut after the accident.

Further, the defendant argued at trial that the plaintiff and his witnesses who were at the time of the accident engaged in a "conspiracy to defraud and extort money from the defendant."

In arguing on behalf of the plaintiff, Atty. Quinn asserted that the bulldozer did not have a functioning seat belt at the time Jones tried to move it off the flatbed.

Further, he asserted that Jones' job required him to operate the vehicle even without a seat belt since to have refused to do so could have imperiled his continued employment.

Quinn insisted that Jones would not have been injured if the bulldozer had a seat belt.

The jury took two and a half hours to return its verdict.

Quinn has amassed numerous million-dollar jury verdicts in the past.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.