Woman claims facial injuries fault of Triple S, Maxim

Kelly Holleran Oct. 2, 2008, 5:31am

A Buna woman has filed suit against two companies, alleging her nose was broken and her jaw was dislocated after a choker came loose from a pipe, hitting her in the face.

Raye Ann Richey applied the nylon choker to a 3,500-pound, 36-inch pipe as part of her job for Triple S Industries on Oct. 12, 2006, according to a complaint filed in Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 10.

While a 100-ton MAXIM crane rig was lifting the pipe off the ground, the choker snapped and struck Richey in the face, the suit states.

As a result of the accident, Richey claims she suffered a broken nose, including a bone laceration, a dislocated jaw and currently suffers from seizures, hearing loss, frequent headaches and sinus infections.

She also has difficulty breathing through her nose, the suit states.

Richey has suffered severe physical and mental pain and anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement, according to the complaint.

She claims she has become responsible for medical costs.

Before the incident, Richey claims she was instructed to use the choker, which was new, on the pipe.

She and a co-worker correctly applied the choker to the pipe, the suit states.

But the crane operator was working blind and could not see the load he was lifting, according to the complaint.

"Additionally, the design of the roll cage allowed it to be easily crushed during a rollover," the suit states. "The safer alternative design would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of Plaintiff's injuries, without substantially impairing the product's utility."

In addition, the choker was defective and insufficiently strong, according to the complaint.

Richey claims Lift-All, one of the companies listed in the complaint, was negligent because it failed to design a choker that would not fail under normal use, failed to design one strong enough prior to its being lifted by a crane, failed to properly inspect the choker before it was sold and placed the choker on the market without warning users it may fail.

She claims MAXIM, the other company listed in the complaint, was negligent because it failed to inspect the choker before it was utilized for lifting and allowed its employee to blindly operate while utilizing a choker.

MAXIM also was negligent in the way it allowed its crane operator to hoist the choker, according to the complaint.

Richey is seeking a judgment against MAXIM and Lift-All in the limits of the court, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Barry C. Bennett of Eddins & Bennett Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-396

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