Family of worker killed by bulldozer blames faulty design for fatality

David Yates Aug. 20, 2008, 11:11am

The widow of a Standard Constructors employee has filed suit against her late husband's employer, claiming the company failed to keep him from being killed while he was operating a bulldozer.

On behalf of Emory Bowie, Sharecka Bowie filed a wrongful death suit Aug. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.

In addition to Nederland-based Standard Constructors, the suit also names Caterpillar Inc.,the bulldozer's manufacture, and Mustang Machinery Co.,the company who maintained the bulldozer, as defendants.

Court documents show that Bowie was killed Aug. 9, 2007, while operating a bulldozer at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur.

The suit gives no further details on how the incident occurred. A report from KBTV-4 said that the accident happened near the gate inside the plant.

Bowie, 25, of Port Arthur, was working on a project to reroute Alligator Bayou off Savannah Avenue, the report said.

"Sources say Bowie was getting off a bulldozer when his foot accidently pulled the lever, causing the bulldozer to move forward," the television station reported. "According to sources, the move forward knocked Bowie off, causing the bulldozer to run over him."

The suit blames Standard Constructors for failing to provide a safe workplace, Caterpillar for manufacturing a defective bulldozer and Mustang Machinery for not maintaining the machine.

"This product was defective because of a design defect," the suit says.

The plaintiff is suing for survival damages, plus her husband's past and future mental anguish, impairment, lost earnings, medical expenses and disfigurement.

She is represented by attorney Chris Portner of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd Judicial District.

Case No. E182-248

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