Grain inspector’s own negligence to blame for head and neck injuries, defendants argue

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 4, 2015

Defendants named in a grain inspector’s personal injury suit claim the plaintiff’s alleged head and neck injuries sustained after he was struck in the head are the result of his own negligence.

According to the Jan. 9 lawsuit, Donald Scales alleges he was working as a grain inspector for North Dakota Grain Inspection on Feb. 12, 2013. As part of his duties, he inspected barges docked to ensure they were clean for loading grain.

While Scales was inspecting the barge, defendant Philip Dalton threw a tie-down line onto the barge, which is used to secure the barge to the shore. Scales claims the tie-down line struck him in the head.

As a result, Scales allegedly suffered permanent injuries to his head, neck, back, shoulder blades and arms and incurred medical costs. He also allegedly lost earnings, suffered great physical and mental pain, lost his enjoyment of life and suffered permanent injury and disability, the suit states.

In addition to Dalton, Scales names SCF, Lewis and Clark, Bulk Service, Lewis and Clark Terminals and SCF Marine as defendants.

The defendants are accused of negligently failing to perform their employment duties in a manner that was safe, failing to inspect the barge to be certain no one was present on it, failing to warn about their intention to throw the line, failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to handle the line a safe manner and failing to allow Scales to move out of the way before throwing the line, the suit states.

All of the defendants, except Dalton, denied the allegations against them in their April 6 answer, arguing that any alleged injuries were caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence.

They accuse Scales of failing to follow the instructions of facility employees when told to move, starting to move in accordance with instructions and then, unexpectedly and inexplicably, stopping before having fully moved out of the way and failing to watch out for and act in the best interest of his safety while at the terminal facility.

Scales seeks an unspecified judgment to compensate him for his injuries.

Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot scheduled a status conference for May 11 at 9 a.m.

Ronald J. Foster and Micah S. Summers of Schoen, Walton, Telken and Foster in East St. Louis represent the plaintiff.

Daryl F. Sohn and Neal W. Settergren of Goldstein and Price in St. Louis represents all defendants except Dalton.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-6

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