Cooper Tire denies worker injury due to negligence

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 31, 2007, 5:11am

TEXARKANA – When Cooper Tire's union workers went on strike in March 2005, Zane Franks was moved from his laboratory technician position to the mixing department. Claiming he had no experience and received no training, Franks became entangled in a machine and injured his right arm.

Now Cooper Tire and Rubber Company has responded to the temporary worker's allegations and states his injuries are due to his own negligence.

Franks filed the personal injury suit on April 9, 2007, in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Hired through a temporary service agency as a laboratory technician, Zane Franks worked at Cooper Tire for five months before the union workers went on strike. During the strike on April 8, 2005, another department's supervisor told Franks to operate a machine in the mixing department.

Franks claims he was not trained, instructed or supervised in the operation of this machine. Due to his inexperience, the plaintiff became tangled and injured his right shoulder, elbow, and wrist, the original complaint states.

Franks believes his injuries are a result of Cooper Tire's gross negligence and total disregard for his safety. He claims Cooper Tire failed to provide proper safety equipment or warn of the dangers of operating the machine.

The lawsuit seeks damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, and attorney fees.

Cooper Tire and Rubber Company filed an amended answer on Oct. 26, 2007, denying most of the worker's allegations. The defendant admits Franks was employed as a laboratory technician but states his alleged injuries were caused by his own negligence.

The parties have selected mediator Michael Smith and completion of mediation is due by April 8, 2008. Pretrial conference is set for May 8, 2008.

Texarkana attorney Don Cooksey is representing the plaintiff. Jury trial is requested.

Judge David Folsom will preside over the litigation.

Case No.: 5:07cv00054

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