Suit alleges improper installation 17 years prior led to wrongful death

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Mar. 30, 2009, 6:34am

Texarkana, Ark. – An Arkansas product liability lawsuit alleges a man's death was caused by machinery that was improperly installed 17 years ago.

Court papers state that while working at Cooper Tire in Texarkana in January 2007, Benjamin Butler alleges he was crushed by a mill loader after a corner bracket came loose allowing the machine to fall.

The mill loader had been installed at Cooper Tire by Rubber City Machinery Corp. in 1990.

Inolia Butler, individually and as the personal representative of the estate of Benjamin Butler, filed suit against Rubber City Machinery and John Does number 1 through 5 on March 25 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

Cooper Tire is not named in the suit.

Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, the plaintiff states the Rubber City controlled the mill loader from the time of purchase and through the installation at Cooper Tire.

The unnamed defendants may be individuals or entities responsible for the accident and consequences or acted with Rubber City in connection to the actions responsible for the incident.

The lawsuit argues Rubber City is liable for strict liability and negligence for the "assembly, installation, welding, or failure to instruct as to the correct installation and/or welding of a mill loader."

The plaintiff states that the defendant should have known that the mill loader was "likely to be the cause of serious and permanent injury."

On behalf of the deceased, the plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for physical injuries, mental anguish, severe pain and fright, emotional shock, disfigurement, death, and funeral expenses.

The plaintiff is seeking damages of loss of consortium, society, companionship and losses of a pecuniary value. Also, the lawsuit is seeking punitive damages to deter others similarly situated from such conduct in the future.

Little Rock attorney Thomas H. McGowan of the Provost Umphrey Law Firm is representing the plaintiff in her allegations.

Butler is requesting a trial by jury.

Located in Akron, Ohio, Rubber City Machinery Corp. has spent 30 years rebuilding polymer processing machinery, mills and presses. Rubber City operates a 100,000 sq. ft. facility with 18 employees. Currently, the company offers a one year warranty on its rebuilt machines.

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes will preside over the litigation.

Case No 4:2009cv04022

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