American Crane settles suit over crushed hand

David Yates Dec. 20, 2010, 6:09am

Minutes before a summary judgment hearing was slated to begin Monday, American Crane & Rigging opted to settle a lawsuit alleging it was responsible for crushing an Orange County man's hand.

In January 2009, Brandon Geer filed suit against American Crane in Jefferson County District Court, claiming the company failed to properly repair a forklift that crushed nearly every bone in his hand.

Court records show that on Sept. 4, 2008, Geer was using a four-ton forklift to retrieve some pipes when the hydraulic lift malfunctioned. Geers informed his boss of the malfunction. The two were inspecting the unit when the forks suddenly fell.

"Heroically, Geers pushed his boss out from underneath the falling forks, risking his life to save him from being crushed," the suit states.

"In doing so, Geers' hand was crushed. For several minutes, his co-workers tried to remove the lift from his hand. Geers broke almost every bone in his hand and received 210 stitches."

The suit goes on to say Geer was hospitalized for ten days and needed two surgeries to repair his hand.

In his suit, Geers alleged American Crane was responsible for repairing the lift and breached its duty to ensure the unit was safe and operable.

The settlement amount was undisclosed.

Geers was represented by Orange attorney Jim Bearden Jr.

American Crane was represented by Beaumont attorney Kip Lamb.

Judge Milton Suffield, 136th District Court, presided over the case.

Case No. D183-066

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