Steel worker struck by swinging beam, family files suit

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 22, 2009, 10:19am

MARSHALL � While working to set steel beams in the construction of a Holiday Inn in McKinney, Justin Gainey stood on a 10-foot ladder attempting to lock in a beam.

The beam was being lifted off the ground by a sling and a forklift when the sling broke, causing the steel beam to fall and swing and hit the ladder that Gainey was standing on.

He was knocked off the ladder and fell, hitting his head on the beam and the concrete foundation. Gainey sustained severe and permanent injuries rendering him non compos mentis, or not of sound mind.

The sling was manufactured by defendant Lift-All and sold by defendant Industrial Mill & Maintenance Supply Inc.

Gainey's family believes that the sling holding the beam was unreasonably dangerous and defective.

"The sling was rated to be able to lift 6,700 pounds in the manner that it was being used at the time of this incident," the suit states. "Although the sling appeared to be in good condition, and although the beam that was being lifted with the sling weighed only approximately 3,800 pounds, the sling suddenly and without warning failed."

Boyce Gainey, as guardian and representative of the estate of Justin Gainey, filed suit against Lift-All Co. Inc., Rigging Supply Co. and Industrial Mill and Maintenance Supply Inc. on Sept. 18 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The lawsuit asserts that the sling in question was "unreasonably, dangerously, defectively designed" as it was not designed to insure that in case of a failure that that item being lifted would not fall and cause harm to others.

Further, the plaintiff argues that the sling was dangerous as a lifted item could shift, slip out or would fall if the product failed. Gainey states that the sling should have contained a secondary restraint system or mechanism to prevent complete failure.

"The sling in question was unreasonably and dangerously, defective in that it did not contain adequate instructions or warnings on the proper and safe use of the sling and did not instruct or warn as to the manner to avoid risks and danger involved," the complaint stated.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, scarring and disfigurement, loss of services and loss of consortium.

Irving attorney Rachel E. Montes of the Montes Herald Law Group LLP is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:09cv00284

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