Suit alleges box too heavy for sales representative

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 16, 2008, 9:45am

MARSHALL -- When working at a Tyler Home Depot on the day after Christmas in 2006, Melina Martin was standing on a ladder attempting to move a box from a shelf over her head. When she picked up the box to move it, the bottom of the box collapsed causing Martin to fall backwards hitting her back on the ladder's rail.

Martin filed suit against H.D. Supply Inc. successor to Crown Bolt Inc. and Home Depot USA Inc. on April 9 in the Marshall division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Employed by Crown Bolt Inc. as a sales representative to Home Depot, Martin was at the Tyler store performing her stocking and re-stocking duties when she was asked to help move a box of Crown Bolt's products, which had been placed in the wrong area.

The box was in an overhead bin where extra stock was normally kept. Martin alleges that the box she was asked to move was "packed improperly, too heavy to be safely moved by one person and had been placed in the wrong area of the store shelving."

Martin estimated the box to weigh approximately 100 pounds. When Martin attempted to move the box, the weight of the products within it shifted, causing the bottom of the box to collapse. She fell backwards hitting the rail of the ladder.

She claims the packing and placement of the box violated the rules and procedures previously set out by Crown Bolt.

The suit alleges Crown Bolt Inc. was negligent through failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work, failing to properly make known its standards of how its products should be handled and stored by employees of Home Depot, and failing to insure that Home Depot's employees were properly trained in the storage and handling of Crown Bolt, Inc.'s products.

The suit alleges Home Depot was negligent through failing to make known and train employees in standards of how Crown Bolt, Inc.'s products should be handled and stored by its employees, allowing its employees to improperly pack the box and failing to warn the plaintiff that the box exceeding the weight limitations and expectations of the Plaintiff.

According to the lawsuit, Crown Bolt, Inc. and its successor are non-subscribers to the Texas Workers' Compensation Act voluntary insurance coverage.

The suit seeks damages for physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of past earnings, diminished value of future earning capacity, past and future medical, hospital, and prescription bills, plus pre and post judgment interest.

Martin is demanding a trial by jury.

Longview attorneys Bruce A. Smith and T. John Ward, Jr. of the Ward and Smith Law Firm are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom has referred the case to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham.

Case No.: 2:08cv00156

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