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Thread: Am I Liable

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Salem, NJ


    I don't know if everyone here knows about the guy in fairless hills PA that died on the job at CSC Sugar back in around Feb. Well, I did all the work for the company when it was here in swedesboro nj. The guy died because he was cleaning out a clogged sugar hopper and the loader driver didn't know he was in there and basically buried him alive in sugar. I did quite a bit of work for the company at the fairless hills location along with building the screen for this very hopper. It is a very large hopper at 9'w x 14' long x 8' deep. I built the screen so it was 18" down from the top. Basically you can see anyone up there unless they were sleeping on the job. Well the company went through a lot of management changes, I got thrown out for not being a good contractor and not filling the new managers pocket. Well, he decided to change the screen to be at the bottom, 8' down. Just like I said when I made the screen, if you put the screen at the bottom and it clogs, you have to manually shovel out like 3 tons of sugar, and you have to have a guy out of sight. Well 2 months later, bamm... guy dies from what I said before hand.

    Now I knew this guy was not smart and I usually know what can go wrong will go wrong and I actually have this on recording that if I were to build a screen at the bottom, this "could" happen. Well, being months later, I know that people are still being questioned on this OSHA investigation and if they contact me, it won't be pretty for the company.

    I actually keep 2 tape recorders in my truck. I blindly record EVERY "contract" meeting" or important event. Even though the tape recording is not legal in court, I know ways of making it work out for me. I keep paperwork of every job including prints, pricing, sketches etc. This way I always cover my ass in good or bad.

  2. #22


    Adding to my earlier comments and what weldermike stated (and thanks for defining tort- was going to do that and forgot). In addition to "Deep pockets" in any suit that has more than one potential defendant- the plaintiff's lawyer will use the 'shotgun' approach and ANY one and I mean ANY one that 'touched' the project will be named in the suit. For example the warehouse where the material came from would be named.
    Reason is- the plaintiff's lawyer in legal proceeding called 'discovery' doesn't want to find out the REAL person culpable was not named and now it is too late. So even 'small' players will get named and while they Might be dismissed at a later date- it will not be before spending money hiring and answering legal things known as interrogatories, where they ask things like how much money you have and how much property and oh lying on them? It's considered perjury.
    I can not comment on any other states Tort laws- I unfortunately learned all about them here in PA. But in my state a disclaimer isn't worth the paper it is printed on. Here you simply can not be absolved of liability by a person signing a paper. For example the classic sign you see at a parking lot '' We are not responsible for lost or stolen items" -- you bet your azz they are liable here. So a disclaimer holds no water in court. And can actually be used Against you- since the disclaimer is prima facia evidence you knew what they wanted to do was not a good practice and were trying to indemnify yourself by the disclaimer and went ahead and did it anyhow. Bad idea to do that.
    If you are in business for yourself- and for long enough you WILL be sued. It is just a matter of when and for how much. Last time I heard a stat-something like in a typical year 1 in 13 businesses are being sued. The best protection on a job that has 'issues' is to literally walk away. You may end up paying many many times more to a law firm with respect to what you earned on that job. Not to mention the sleepless nights and stress. As they say -been there done that- and it wasn't a pleasant nearly four years of anxiety when it was finally settled literally in the eleventh hour-court was the next day when the plaintiff finally settled. So its not a fun event and one you want to avoid if at all possible. Not trying to sound like a know it all- just passing on what I learned by going to 'law'school the hard way and save someone else the nightmare.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Milan Michigan


    Once again thanks for the education, I did indeed talk to a lawyer, I was just wanting to know if any of you had to deal with similar situation.

    I met with them and had a explanation for everything they asked about.

    ( Cutomer inflicted damage )

    I dont think they are going to pursue it any farther.

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