Wrongful death suit filed on behalf of man whose head is crushed

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 31, 2005, 4:40am

Value Village in St. Louis.

The family of a man whose head was crushed in a baling machine filed a wrongful death lawsuit against International Baler Corp. of Jacksonville, Fla. in St. Clair County Circuit Court on March 24.

According to the suit, Louis Crigler III of East St. Louis died Dec. 17, 2003, from head trauma he sustained in an on-the-job accident at Value Village in St. Louis.

The plaintiffs include Crigler’s minor child, Louis Crigler IV, his wife, Lataya Smith, and Crigler’s mother, Betty Crigler.

Represented by James Lemonds of Simon Passanante of St Louis, the family is seeking more than $150,000 in actual and punitive damages. Other defendants include Square D Company of Palatine and Eaton Electrical of Cleveland.

The suit claims the baling machine was in a defective condition, was unreasonably dangerous and was not equipped with adequate safety guards to prevent an operator’s body from coming into contact with the moving portions of the machine.

The Criglers also allege that there was no adequate release mechanism to prevent an operator from being trapped.

They claim the machine's defects caused Crigler's head to be crushed against the metal structure of the baler.

The suit claims the family has forever lost the services, society, companionship, consortium, love and support of Crigler.

Crigler’s family seeks damages from Square D claiming electrical circuitry was wired in a manner as to make it unusually or overly sensitive to overload and that the internal reed switch was oriented incorrectly and the switches and magnet were misaligned.

Eaton Electric is blamed for insufficient wiring on the main terminal and its starter contacts--which according to the suit, were made of a material likely to corrode and therefore fail.

05 L 206 (20th Circuit)

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