Rental company sued after worker injured when equipment broke

Michelle Keahey Nov. 2, 2012, 11:00am


NEW ORLEANS - After part of a trailer broke and fell on him, a worker has filed a lawsuit against a rental company claiming it should have inspected the trailer and maintained the equipment.

Vernon Nicholas Jr. filed suit against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., United Rentals (North America) Inc. d/b/a United Rentals Inc. and John Doe on Sept. 5 in St. Charles Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Sept. 25.

The alleged incident occurred while Nicholas was working as an employee of Zachry Industrial of Longwood and doing contracting work at the Dow Chemical Co. plant located in Taft on Sept. 15, 2011.

According to the lawsuit, Dow Chemical rented a welder from United Rentals. The welder was delivered to the plant on a trailer equipped with a jack, which was attached by welding to the front left side of the trailer. Nicholas attempted to access the welder but the welding that secured the jack to the trailer broke, causing the jack to become detached from the trailer. The trailer fell toward the ground and onto Nicholas' leg.

Defendant United Rentals is accused of failing to exercise reasonable care in maintaining equipment, failing to properly train employees on maintain equipment, failing to exercise reasonable care in inspecting equipment, and for failing to properly train employees on how to inspect equipment.

Defendant John Doe is accused of negligence or fault for failing to conduct proper inspection of trailer prior to delivery, failing to lean of ruin, vice, or defect in welding of trailer, failing to prevent break of welding, and for failing to prevent detachment of jack and trailer.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages, court costs, and interest.

Nicholas is represented by A.M. Tony Clayton, Michael Fruge, and Richard J. Ward, III of Clayton, Fruge & Ward.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-02369

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Organizations in this Story

Dow Chemical
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674

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