crown equipment corporation logo Machine operator sues forklift maker over dangerous design defectsBeasley Allen lawyers filed a lawsuit against forklift maker Crown Equipment Corporation over a defectively designed and malfunctioning forklift that ejected its operator and crushed him against a beam. Kenan Johnson was operating the defective forklift at a distribution warehouse near Atlanta in February 2018. Mr. Johnson is represented by Beasley Allen’s Mike Andrews and Ben Keen.

“Mr. Johnson is young, with his whole life ahead of him, yet the injuries caused by the defendant’s forklift have permanently disabled him and severely limited his future job opportunities,” Andrews said. “The defendant knows the product is dangerous but chose to risk workers’ safety rather than address the defects in its product’s design. Crown must be held accountable for the poorly designed forklift and its disregard for human safety.”

On the day of the crash, Mr. Johnson was moving the forklift in a forward direction. In what was a routine act, he lifted his foot off the forklift’s accelerator expecting the machine to stop. However, the forklift did not stop. Instead, it threw Mr. Johnson off the machine and against a beam. The forklift continued at full speed, according to witnesses, in Mr. Johnson’s direction. Unable to move out of the way, Mr. Johnson was pinned against the beam by the forklift, which crushed his left leg, knee and foot. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Johnson remained in the hospital for a month. He has been unable to return to work following the incident and has incurred more than $550,000 in medical bills and related costs.

The lawsuit alleges that the forklift is defective and “has an unreasonable tendency to injure operators in ordinary and emergency operation.” The machine is sold to customers without a door, which could have prevented Johnson from being thrown from the machine. Further, it is equipped with a brake system that is not adequate for “its intended and foreseeable use.” The lawsuit contends it was the combination of these design defects that led to Mr. Johnson’s permanent and disabling injuries.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District Atlanta Division, case number 1:20-cv-00304-MLB.

Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Personal Injury & Products Liability section often find when a worker is seriously injured or killed on the job, a defective product is involved. What may appear to be a worker’s compensation claim may actually involve third-party liability claims for dangerous or defective machinery or other equipment. For more information or to discuss a possible claim, contact Mike Andrews in our Montgomery office or Ben Keen in our Atlanta office.

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