Load of steel beams crushes worker, suit says

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 22, 2009

A Madison County man claims he was crushed by a load of steel beams that fell from a crane hook.

Guy Durham filed a lawsuit Oct. 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against DeMag Cranes and Components Corp. and The John Sakach Company of St. Louis.

In his complaint, Durham claims he was transporting steel beams using an overhead crane and crane hook assembly manufactured by defendant Demag while working for Ben Hur Steel Worx on July 31, 2008.

To transport the steel beams, Durham was using two wire rope slings manufactured by defendant Sakach that each were looped and slung over the crane hook, according to the complaint.

"While Plaintiff Guy Durham was engaged in operating the crane and crane hook assembly, the crane hook assembly and/or wire rope slings failed, specifically, allowing for a wire rope sling to come out of the crane hook during transport and causing the load to tip over onto Plaintiff's body and causing Plaintiff to suffer severe and debilitating injuries, including but not limited to crush injuries to his abdomen, pelvis and lower extremities, injuries to internal organs, internal bleeding, and infections that have led to multiple surgeries and hospital admissions, medical treatments, therapies and rehabilitation," the suit states.

In addition to his injuries, Durham was required to undergo hospital expenses and suffered a loss of wages, the complaint says.

Durham blames Demag for a number of negligent acts, including its failure to adequately design a crane and a crane hook, its failure to design a crane hook that could adequately secure and bear a load, its failure to design a crane hook that could support intended loads and its failure to test the crane and crane hook.

He says the wire rope slings designed by defendant Sakach were defectively designed, which caused them to easily slide out of the crane hook; were inappropriate for loads being moved; did not allow for adequate securement in the crane hook, could not withstand specified load capacities; and had inadequate warnings.

In the eight-count suit, Durham is seeking a judgment of more than $400,000, plus punitive damages, court costs and other relief the court deems just.

John G. Simon and Rachel L. Roman of The Simon Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1106.

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