Man blames rice mill after he falls off truck full of hulls

Kelly Holleran Nov. 5, 2009, 8:49am

A man claims he broke both heels and a wrist after falling off the top of a trailer while attempting to secure a load.

Todd Buchholtz filed a lawsuit Oct. 30 in Jefferson County District Court against Beaumont Rice Mills Inc. and E.W. Belcher Trucking Inc.

Buchholtz claim he was working as a truck driver for E.W. Belcher, and went to Beaumont Rice Mills to pick up a load of rice hulls as part of his job duties on April 29, 2008.

Beaumont Rice Mills employees used an open shoot over the trailer to load rice hulls. After the rice hulls had settled, additional hulls were piled on top to fill the trailer as much as possible, according to the complaint.

Once the trailer was stuffed, Buchholtz was required to climb to the top of the rig to secure the load by placing a tarp over it, the suit states.

However, there were no walkways along the side of the trailer, so Buchholtz was required to walk along the edge of the trailer to find the rope and tarp that were buried on the side of the trailer, the complaint says.

"When he pulled the rope from under the hulls, he fell of the side of the trailer onto the ground with part of the rope," the suit states. "He fell from the height of several feet, landing on both feet, and then falling on his left wrist."

Immediately Buchholtz claims he was taken to the emergency room where he learned he had fractured both heels and his left wrist.

Because of his fall, Buchholtz claims he was required to undergo surgery, incurred medical costs, experienced physical pain, suffering, physical impairment and disfigurement and lost his earnings. In addition, he lost household services, suffered mental anguish and will incur future medical monitoring costs, according to the complaint.

In his complaint, Buchholtz alleges negligence against both defendants and a premises liability claim against Beaumont Rice Hill.

Buchholtz is seeking unspecified damages, interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

Joan M. Durkin and Kathryn E. Morrow of Durkin Law Offices in Hurst will be representing him.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: A185-235.

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