Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Ladder's missing parts blamed for Pennsylvania worker's death

Any product can become dangerous when it's used incorrectly. At the same time, any error caused along the distribution chain to a Pennsylvania consumer is a product maker's responsibility.

A Pittsburgh jury must see proof of a defective product before damages are awarded to a plaintiff. A court will consider how a product was used when deciding whether a manufacturer was liable. A poor driver can be blamed for an accident in a mechanically sound car; a bad driver might share fault with a car-maker for a crash involving a defective car.

A widowed plaintiff filed a fatal product liability case against a ladder-making company and the City of Philadelphia, her husband's employer. The woman's spouse suffered severe head trauma in August 2012, after falling onto concrete from a rolling Louisville Ladder at work.

Court papers said the accident victim was on the ladder when the product collapsed. The man's head injury caused brain bleeding and swelling that, despite two surgeries, could not be controlled. The victim died while on life support, four days after the ladder accident. An inspection found the steel, mobile ladder was missing nuts and bolts.

The lawsuit claims Louisville Ladder Inc. failed to assemble the ladder properly.

The defendant's legal adviser filed a removal notice to bump the strict liability case to federal court from state court. He complained the victim's employer was "fraudulently" named as a co-defendant in the original filing and dropped from the lawsuit in early November.

The proposed change also was requested because the plaintiff asked for damages of more than $50,000. Large damage disputes are often the domain of federal courts.

Product liability decisions have been inconsistent in Pennsylvania state and federal courts, due to conflicts in laws. Product Liability Attorneys can answer questions about how the two courts' rules presently differ and how different laws apply to your particular injury or wrongful death case.

Source:, "Wrongful death claim filed by estate of Phila. employee who died after falling from ladder" Jon Campisi, Nov. 26, 2013

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