Rand v. ACCO Chain and Lifting Products, et al., Delaware County, PA – Defective Design and Manufacture of an Overhead Crane and Counterweight
In February of 1996, Plaintiff, 63 year old Eugene Rand, was injured when a defectively designed steel counterweight and bracket weighting approximately 86 lbs. broke off from the hoist portion of a crane which was mounted approximately 18 feet above, impacting his head, shoulder, then ribs. The crane and counterweight were manufactured and designed by ACCO Chain Machine Lifting Products of York, PA.
Mr. Rand was working as a machinist at Cobra Machine Company in Wilmington, DE at the time of that accident, and had been a life-long machinist for more than 30 years prior to that, most of which was spent at Westinghouse. The bracket was defectively designed in that the specifications called for the entire 86 lbs. to be supported only by a 1/4 inch thick piece of sheet steel, the strength of which was variable because the designed called for only “1/4 inch hot rolled steel” with no minimum strength or hardness. The defective design of the counterweight mounting bracket made it incapable of withstanding the stresses exerted on it from the weight itself and from the motion of the crane. After being injured by the counterweight, Plaintiff was an inpatient for a total of about 1.5 months, and, after discharge, he underwent daily outpatient therapy (physical and mental) for approximately 6 months. Thereafter, Mr. Rand returned to work on limited duty for only 12-18 hours per week and only with the assistance and supervision of a “job coach” provided by the rehabilitation facility. After being unable to perform his job duties due to severe headaches, fatigue, and memory problems, Mr. Rand was advised by his physicians that he could not continue to work even on such a limited basis.
Mr. Rand, who did all of the maintenance, repair, and renovation of his home, was rendered basically inactive by the accident. Mrs. Rand testified regarding her husband’s personality differences since the accident, and the effect the changes in her husband had on her. Plaintiff’s medical bills were approximately $120,000.00 and wage loss and losses of household services to age 70 were projected at approximately $240,000.00. The verdict in this matter was appealed by defendant, and later settled for a confidential amount.