Alhambra boom truck accident leads man to sue

Kelly Holleran Jul. 17, 2009, 5:00am

A Madison County man who says he was hit in the head by a support beam as a boom truck was lifting it in place has filed suit against the operator of a boom truck, two other individuals and the owner of the truck.

Kevin Paul filed a lawsuit July 10 in Madison County Circuit Court against Chad Ernst, Wayne Schuetz, Hamel Seed and Farm Supply and Robert Klenke.

Paul claims he was working for Ernst on May 4, 2008, and was helping in the construction of an addition to a building located at 12005 Fruit Road in Alhambra.

Paul's duties required him to work on a ladder near a support beam that was being hoisted with a boom truck to construct the addition, according to the complaint.

"At said time and place, Plaintiff was standing on a ladder in order to attach the beam to a support post when said beam was caused to drop onto Plaintiff, thereby proximately causing injuries to Plaintiff as hereinafter mentioned," the suit states.

Because of the incident, Paul suffered severe and permanent injuries to his left ankle and arms, experienced great pain of the mind and body and mental anguish and incurred medical bills, the complaint says. In addition, he claims he will be unable to attend to the ordinary affairs of life.

He blames Ernst, who owned and was in charge of the construction, and Schuetz, who was in charge of the construction and operated the boom truck, for failing to provide a properly trained boom truck operator, for failing to provide a proper choker, for failing to adequately supervise placement of the beam, for allowing Paul and others to work around an inexperienced boom truck operator and for failing to warn Paul the boom truck operator was inexperienced.

In addition, Ernst negligently allowed an inexperienced person to operate the boom truck, extended the arm of the boom truck while it was under load, operated the boom truck in such a way that a beam became dislodged and fell on Paul and failed to provide Paul with a safe place to work, according to the complaint.

Schuetz permitted the choker and the tag line that were rigged to lift the beam to be done in such a way that the beam could slide free, operated a boom truck without sufficient experience, extended the arm of the lifting boom while it was still under load, failed to warn Paul he was inexperienced in the operation of the boom truck and failed to provide Paul with a safe place to work, the suit states.

Hamel Seed and Farm Supply and Klenke, which loaned the boom truck to Ernst and Schuetz, should have known they were inexperienced in the operation of the truck and were going to be using it for activities for which they were not trained. In addition, it should have warned Paul that the operator of the boom truck was not trained, the complaint says.

In the eight-count suit, Hill is seeking a judgment of more than $300,000, plus costs.

J. Robert Edmonds of Mormino, Velloff, Edmonds and Snider in Alton will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-718.

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