NEW ORLEANS — A UPS worker has been awarded more than $65,000 after he suffered an accident while delivering a 500-pound piece of furniture, according to a decision filed on May 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The decision was handed down by U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
John Scott, a UPS worker, had sued Weeks Marine Inc., alleging that one of its employees, Justin Self, was negligent when he attempted to drop off a 500-pound piece of furniture.
Scott claimed that Self acted negligently when he used a forklift to unload the chair, which caused the item fall on Scott's hand, according to the court’s decision. Scott said he has experienced “severe physical pain and disability, mental anguish, medical expenses, disfigurement, lost wages and lost earning potential.”
The defendant, for its part, argued that Scott was liable for his injuries.
The court, however, agreed with Scott and found that Weeks Marine was mostly liable for his injuries because Self was negligent while operating the forklift.
Citing Douglas v. Cajun Constructors Inc., Fallon ruled that businesses and their workers have “a duty of care to competently operate equipment.” He further stated it was Self’s responsibility to operate the truck in a way that did not cause harm. Consequently, Fallon determined that Weeks Marine was 80 percent liable for the accident and the injuries.
Conversely, Fallon determined that Scott was 20 percent liable and noted that he should have steered clear of the cabinet and forklift while the item was being unloaded.
“The court finds that [the] defendant is 80 percent at fault for the cause of [the] plaintiff’s accident and injuries,” Fallon wrote in the decision. “By failing to properly insert the forks of the forklift into the pallet, readjust the forks and tilt the cabinet back, Self created an unsafe and unstable unloading situation that caused the cabinet to rock and fall during the unloading process. Self did not properly operate the forklift while attempting to unload the UPS freight delivery. Self’s haste and negligence were a cause of Scott’s injuries.”
Fallon awarded Scott $30,000 for physical and mental pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. The judge further awarded him $17,256.73 in medical expenses and $18,418.86 in lost wages for a total of $65,674.59.