Forklift operator sues truck driver for failure to set air brakes

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 20, 2011, 8:57am


MARSHALL - A forklift operator has filed a lawsuit against a truck driver's employer for negligent entrustment, alleging the truck driver failed to set his air brakes, which allowed the truck and trailer to roll forward and the forklift to drop to the pavement.

Elizabeth Aleman filed suit against R&L Carriers Inc. on Nov. 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

According to the complaint, on Feb. 18, 2010, Aleman was operating a forklift to unload a trailer owned by R&L Carriers at the MicroMetl Corp. loading dock in Longview.

Aleman states that R&L's truck driver failed to set his air brakes and failed to use wheel chokes or any other method to secure the truck and trailer to prevent movement during the unloading process, which allowed the truck and trailer to roll forward.

The forklift dropped from the trailer and loading dock onto the pavement below, subjecting Aleman to "tremendous force," the suit states.

The truck driver is accused of negligence for leaving the vehicle unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition and setting the parking brake effectively. He is also accused of failing to timely apply the brakes, failing to use wheel chokes, failing to control the vehicle, and failing to act or respond in a reasonable manner.

R&L Carriers is accused of negligence for entrusting the truck and trailer to an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver, hiring and retraining the driver, failing to properly train the driver and entrusting the truck and trailer to a driver when it knew the truck and trailer were defective and unsafe for use.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of earning capacity, interest and court costs.

Aleman is represented by Marty Young and Brent Goudarzi of Goudarzi & Young in Gilmer.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00471

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