General Contractor’s Cost-Cutting Crane Assembly Causes Foot Crush and Toe Amputations

Synopsis

In September 2014, defendants ProVen Management, LLC and Oro Holdings, LLC attempted to assemble a Link-Belt lattice boom crane without using a qualified crane assembly crew. Behind schedule with a civil engineering project in San Jose, the defendants hired their longtime heavy equipment mechanic subcontractor, plaintiff C.G., to assist with the crane assembly.

C.G. arrived to the jobsite expecting to help ProVen's crane assembly team as a laborer on the ground, and to repair the crane as needed. Part way through the assembly, ProVen's original crane operator left the jobsite. ProVen's superintendent replaced him with a crane operator, defendant LaBar, who was not certified to operate the crane. Minutes later, as plaintiff was hammering cotter pins out of connection points, a multi-thousand pound boom section fell to the ground and crushed his foot.

Plaintiff's Contentions

Plaintiff C.G. claimed that the defendants chose not to hire qualified crane assembly staff, and were rushing the project. This led to the crane assembly taking place without normal safety steps such as a job hazard analysis, blocking, or support cables. C.G. also sued Link-Belt for defective crane design. After C.G. was injured, ProVen's own safety officer sharply criticized ProVen for pushing ahead the crane assembly with unqualified staff, and issued ProVen a failing "safety score" for the incident.

Defendant's Allegations

ProVen claimed that it was not in charge of the crane assembly, and argued that plaintiff, who was a mechanic, should have implemented all the missing safety measures. ProVen claimed that it was therefore plaintiff's own fault that the boom section fell on him when he hammered the cotter pins.

Injuries

A large boom section fell onto C.G.'s foot from a height of three feet, crushing bones in his foot. C.G. had several surgeries over the following year, including the removal of tissue and bone, and grafting of tissue from his thigh and wrist. C.G. suffers ongoing foot pain, walks with a limp, and has nerve pain at the graft site on his wrist. He will need additional surgeries over the rest of his life due to the breakdown of tissue on his foot. Plaintiff returned to full-time work one year after the incident, but in a different industry that accommodates his mobility limits. C.G.'s wife, J.G. claimed loss of consortium.

Result

Defendants ProVen, Oro, LaBar, and Link-Belt settled, for a global benefit of $2.75M to plaintiff C.G. and his spouse.