Ice cream shop employee sues after falling on machine

Michelle Massey Mar. 24, 2010, 11:28am

MARSHALL-In a recently filed federal lawsuit, the shift manager of a Plano ice cream shop claims she was left blind in one eye by an on-the-job injury.

While at work at Henry's Homemade Ice Cream, Amy Whitson states she was carrying newly filled buckets of ice cream to the freezer when she slipped in water leaking from an ice cream machine.

As she slipped, Whitson claims her face hit a metal strip on the ingredient container on the front corner of the machine, puncturing her right eye and severely injuring her eye socket.

Now blind in one eye, Whitson and her husband, Troy Whitson, individually and as next friend of their two minor children, filed suit against the shop owner as well as the manufacturer of the ice cream machine she struck.

Seeking damages in excess of $200,000, the couple filed the suit against defendants Carpigiana Corporation of America, doing business as Codelite, Henry Gentry and Henry's Homemade Ice Cream Inc. on March 19 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Codelite was formerly Coldelite Corporation of America, now doing business as H.C. Duke & Son Inc. Carpigiani Corporation of America, also known as Codelite, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carpigiani in Bologna, Italy, which specializes in the manufacture of frozen dessert equipment.

The Plano residents claim the defendants are negligent for the "defective and unsafe" design of the ice cream machine.

"There were safer alternative designs other than the one used, which were economically and technologically feasible that would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury in question," the complaint alleges.

Whitson alleges Gentry and his business are negligent for failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to provide safe equipment, failing to comply with OSHA requirements, failing to maintain dry standing places on the floor and failing to properly train employees regarding techniques for maintaining the ice cream machine.

Causes of action filed against the defendants include strict liability, manufacturing and marking defect, breach of express and implied warranties, negligence and gross negligence.

The plaintiffs are asking for more than $100,000 in damages for each plaintiff for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, physical disability, impairment, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and loss of consortium.

Dallas attorneys Kimberly A. Stovall and William S. Whittington of Stovall & Associates, P.C. are representing the plaintiff. Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the litigation.

Case No. 2:10cv00096

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