Man who fell off truck settles with E.W. Belcher Trucking

David Yates Jan. 10, 2011, 8:32am

After two years of litigation, Todd Buchholtz, who broke both heels and a wrist after falling off the top of a trailer while attempting to secure a rice load, settled his claims against E.W. Belcher Trucking.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Buchholtz filed a lawsuit Oct. 30, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court against Beaumont Rice Mills and E.W. Belcher Trucking.

A year later, Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th District Court granted Bucholtz's agreed motion to dismiss with prejudice on Oct. 13, finding that the "parties have compromised and settled."

Rice Mills is still a defendant in the suit.

In his suit, Buchholtz claims he was working as a truck driver for Belcher. On April 29, 2008, he had gone to Beaumont Rice Mills to pick up a load of rice hulls as part of his job duties.

Court papers show 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.

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. 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.

"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."

Court papers do not say what compromise the two parties reached.

Joan M. Durkin and Kathryn E. Morrow of Durkin Law Offices in Hurst represent Bucholtz.

Belcher was represented by Grace Weatherly of Wood, Thacker & Weatherly in Denton.

Case No. A185-235

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