Man sues after falling from safety ladder at safety seminar

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 29, 2009, 3:45am

MARSHALL � An East Texas man is giving a safety training school a failing grade after he was caught up in an allegedly defective rescue ladder.

Joe Armendarez was attending a safety training school and wearing a body harness while suspended 10 feet from the ground when he attempted to use a self-rescue ladder.

He claims his weight shifted, causing the ladder to fail and leave him dangling from the safety harness with his middle finger stuck in a metal safety ring.

Alleging the ladder's stitching patterns were not accurately tested, Armendarez filed suit against Reliance Industries, doing business as Reliance Fall Protection Industries Inc.

Aremendarez states that after he deployed the self-rescue ladder, he attempted to secure it but his weight shifted on the ladder and "the material thereof failed, causing Plaintiff to hang approximately 8-10 feet from the ground with his left middle finger caught in a metal safety ring."

Causes of actions filed against the defendant include strict liability for manufacturing defect, defective design and failure to warn, negligence, gross negligence, and breach of warranty.

The plaintiff alleges the defendant is negligent for failing to adequately supervise the production, design, engineering, and production of the product, and for failing to ensure that ladder and its component parts were manufactured with material suitable for its intended use.

The lawsuit also states that the defendant failed to ensure the product's quality controls tests were properly followed and failed to accurately "test and determine the stitching patterns, UV degradation and energy absorbing properties due to dynamic loading of the material used in the manufacturing the ladder and/or its component parts."

The plaintiff states that the Reliance Fall Protection should have known that the self rescue ladder and its parts were dangerously defective and posed unacceptable risks.

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

Odessa attorney Jeffrey Cluff of the firm Fadduol, Cluff and Hardy PC is representing the plaintiff.

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

Case No 2:09cv00336

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