Broken Ladder Causes Spinal Injuries to Teamster

Synopsis

John Doe was a Teamster truck driver. He worked for Greyhound Expo Services (GES) delivering and unloading materials. On the day of the incident, plaintiff's employer GES had been hired by Western Exhibitors to unload materials at Moscone Center. While returning to his truck, plaintiff descended a metal ladder attached to the dock. The ladder suddenly broke as plaintiff was descending it. He fell four feet onto the concrete floor, landing on his back and neck. Mr. Doe sustained permanent spinal injuries.

SMG had purchased the dock ladder from defendant McMaster-Carr Supply, and had installed, maintained, and repaired the ladder for the use of delivery persons. Defendant Manco Manufacturing manufactured the ladder, which was made of steel tubing and rated to hold 500 pounds. Before the incident, SMG knew the ladder had been subject to repeated damage by trucks. However, SMG maintained no regular schedule of inspections for the ladder. A few weeks before the incident, a truck knocked the ladder off the dock. An SMG employee re-welded and repaired the ladder. Plaintiff's experts argued that SMG's improper repair of ladder caused it to break during normal use. The matter settled before trial.