Derrick digger maker named in MC suit

By Steve Gonzalez | Mar 22, 2005

A Jerseyville man who was thrown off a telephone pole digger is suing the machine's maker and distributor in Madison County Circuit Court.

Bradley S. Coughlin, who seeks $100,000 in damages for injuries sustained in an accident last year, claims that bolts
attaching the boom to the pedestal on an Altec Digger Derrick malfunctioned, causing him to be thrown from the operator's seat to the ground. He was employed by JF Electric Co. of Edwardsville at the time.

Coughlin, a union electrician, named Altec Industries of Birmingham,
Ala. and Nesco Inc. of Bluffton, Ind. as defendants in a suit filed March 21. He is represented by Eric Carlson of Edwardsville.

The Altec Digger Derrick is used for digging telephone poles as well
as the placement of the poles. The operator sits on a seat that is
mounted at the base of a telescoping boom, which is attached to a
pedestal by bolts and a gear that allows it to rotate.

Coughlin claims he suffered severe and devastating injuries on Jan. 12, 2004, including, a fractured left calcaneus, which required extensive medical care and treatment. He lost left foot strength and range of motion and endured pain and suffering, disability, enjoyment of a normal life and wages and incurred medical expenses.

The suit claims Coughlin's injuries are a direct result of the following negligence by Nesco and Altec in their design, manufacture,
distribution and sale of the Altec digger derrick:

  • Failure to use self-locking bolts that would not gradually loosen over time;

  • Failure to design the pedestal bolts attaching the boom to the
    pedestal so that an operator could check their tightness without
    taking apart the boom;

  • Inadequate instructions for checking the bolts' torque;

  • Ineffective anti-seize compound applied; and

  • Inadequate maintenance and inspection instructions.

    05 L 285

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