Pre-trial underway in wrongful death suit against Caterpillar

By David Yates | Jan 12, 2015

After more than six years of litigation, pre-trial started Monday in a wrongful death suit alleging a man was killed while operating a bulldozer.

On behalf of the late Emory Bowie, Sharecka Bowie, his widow, filed suit against Nederland-based Standard Constructors, Emory’s employer at the time, Caterpillar, the bulldozer’s manufacture, and Mustang Machinery, the company who sold the bulldozer, on Aug. 19, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court.

Court documents show that Bowie was killed Aug. 9, 2007, while operating a bulldozer at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur.

In her suit, Sharecka Bowie says she believes the machine was stationary at the time. Emory, 25, rose from his seat to signal another worker when the bulldozer moved in a reverse direction, causing him to become entangled in one the machine’s tracks, crushing his bones and internal organs.

The plaintiffs will attempt to persuade jurors that the product was defective because of a design defect.

However, Caterpillar and Mustang maintain Emory died because of his own negligence in operating the bulldozer, according to the defendants’ sixth amended answer, filed April 25.

In addition all wrongful death damages available under law, the plaintiffs will seek an award of exemplary damages.

Attorney Chris Portner of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm, represents the plaintiffs.

The defendants are represented in part by Michael Baker, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard.

Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd Judicial District is presiding over the case.

Case No. E182-248

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