Defendants in lawsuit alleging warehouse worker hit by 88 gallons of milk after falling out of trailer deny claims

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 20, 2015

Defendants named in a warehouse worker’s lawsuit alleging he was hurt when he fell out of a moving trailer that was supposed to be parked at a loading dock have denied the allegations against them, accusing the plaintiff of contributing to his own alleged injuries.

According to Kwame Kennedy’s Sept. 30 lawsuit, he claims he was injured while working at an O’Fallon warehouse owned by Dean Foods Company in October 2012.

Kennedy claims he was hosing out the inside of a trailer, which carried milk products, that was parked at a loading dock. The trailer was allegedly owned by Holtgrave Distributing Inc., the suit states.

Kennedy claims one of the distributing company’s employees pulled the trailer away from the loading dock while he was still inside, causing him to be thrown out of the back of the trailer and onto the ground. While on the ground, Kennedy alleges he was hit by 88-gallons of milk that were on the trailer.

Defendant Holtgrave answered the complaint on Nov. 3, denying the allegations against it and arguing that any alleged damages were the result of the plaintiff’s own negligence and the “carelessness of third parties not under control of defendant.”

Holtgrave also argues that Kennedy failed to establish that the defendant owed him a duty of care and his claims are barred by the doctrine of assumption of risk.

Kennedy replied to the affirmative defenses on Nov. 5, denying each and every allegation.

Defendant Dean Foods Company answered the complaint on Nov. 7, denying the allegations against it and arguing that any alleged damages were caused “by pre-existing conditions or other contributory or concurrent factors, including events before or after the occurrence made the basis of plaintiff’s claim against this defendant …”

Defendant Suiza Dairy Group LLP, doing business as Pet O’Fallon, LLC, was added to the lawsuit in the first amended complaint. It answered the amended complaint on Dec. 4, denying the allegations against it and alleging the same affirmative defenses as the others.

Kennedy replied to Suiza Dairy Group’s affirmative defenses on Dec. 8, denying the allegations.

Kennedy accuses the defendants of negligence and asks for more than $150,000 in damages for medical bills, loss of income and costs of the lawsuit.

Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson is presiding over the case. He scheduled a case management conference for May 11 at 9 a.m.

Jane Unsell of Unsell, Schattnik & Phillips in Wood River represents Kennedy.

William A. Brasher and Richard I. Woolf of Boyle Brasher LLC in St. Louis represent Holtgave.

Stephen M. Buckley of Buckley & Buckley, LLC, in St. Louis represents Dean Foods Company and Suiza Dairy Group. They demand a trial by jury.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-667

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