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No summary judgment in runaway forklift accident


A New York appellate court on Thursday overturned a grant of partial summary judgment to an injured worker for a forklift accident stating there “were triable issues as to whether any safety regulation had been violated.”

Joseph Marino Jr. suffered injuries in a forklift accident while working on a construction project.

According to Mr. Marino, he had placed the forklift in neutral, applied the parking brake and exited the vehicle to retrieve some materials. When he then observed the forklift rolling backward, he ran after it. Once he reached the forklift, Mr. Marino planted his foot on the ground and injured his knee, according to Marino v. Manning Squires Hennig Co. Inc., filed in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Fourth Judicial Department in Rochester, New York.

Mr. Marino filed suit against Manning Squires Hennig Co. Inc., the general contractor for the construction project, asserting a claim violation of a labor law that requires reasonable and adequate protection and safety.

The general contractor then filed a third-party action against Mr. Marino’s employer, Highland Masonry and Restoration Inc. Mr. Marino moved for summary judgment and an Erie County Supreme Court judge granted the motion.

The Appellate Division’s 4th Department said the motion should have been denied, noting that Mr. Marino submitted conflicting deposition testimony, including his own, on the issue of whether the date of the accident was the first time any party was aware of the alleged faulty forklift brake.

In addition, the court said, there was conflicting testimony on whether the brake indicator light was activated during the incident and, thus, there was an issue of fact of whether the parking brake was defective.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.