Suit alleges defective design of sweeper caused man's death

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 28, 2008

Waldon Sweepmaster with optional cab

MARSHALL -- The wife of Everado Reyes believes her husband's lack of training and the defective design of a commercial sweeper led to his death when the equipment overturned.

Under the Texas Wrongful Death Act, April Reyes, individually, as estate representative, and next friend of two minor children, filed suit against Mobile Products Inc. and Madden Contracting Co. Inc. on Oct. 24 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the lawsuit, Reyes, an employee of Madden Contracting, was not provided any training but told to operate a Waldon SweepMaster commercial sweeper.

While operating the sweeper, Reyes turned onto a private drive so he could turn the equipment around. However, when he turned in the private drive, the equipment overturned and landed on him.

The lawsuit alleges the equipment was defective and in an unreasonably dangerous condition. Further, the plaintiff states that there were safer alternative designs that would have prevented the death of her husband.

Arguing strict liability and gross negligence, the plaintiff states that the sweeper was not crashworthy in rollovers, did not have adequate protection systems, did not have systems to mitigate complete or partial ejection, inherently unstable and unreasonable tendency to rollover in ordinary maneuvers, and did not contain adequate warnings or instructions regarding rollover risks.

Reyes also argues that the defendants should have incorporated the enclosed cab into the equipment.

"Mobile knew when it offered the enclosed cab as an option that there existed foreseeable dangers, including death that could result from the equipment becoming unbalanced and turning over without an enclosed cab," the complaint states.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for her husband's conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, funeral and burial expenses, pecuniary loss, loss of companionship and society, loss of inheritance.

Dallas attorney Andrew L. Payne of the Payne Mitchell Law Group and Tyler attorneys Daryl L. Derryberry and Craig D. Zips of the law firm Derryberry and Zips, P.L.L.C are representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial is requested.

The defendants have not responded to the allegations.

Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:2008cv00411

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