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Corboy & Demetrio Obtains $3.25 Million for Conveyor Belt Worker Injured at IL Plant

01.19.2024

Corboy & Demetrio has obtained a settlement of $3.25 million on behalf of an Illinois worker who was injured when her frock sleeve was pulled into a conveyor belt she was cleaning at the Carl Buddig and Company plant in South Holland, Illinois on July 13,2018.

At the time of her injury, the 50-year-old woman was employed as a line operator on a conveyor that was used to transport sliced lunchmeat products from a slicer to a packaging machine.  The conveyor belts were wet from the cleaning process performed on the previous shift, and while attempting to dry the conveyor belt and drive roller, the woman was injured when the right sleeve of her frock was pulled into the unguarded in-running nip point located between the conveyor drive roll and the conveyor belts. This caused degloving trauma, resulting in a brachial plexus injury.

The subject conveyor was manufactured by Eaglestone Equipment. The distributor was Delano Conveyor and Equipment.  Corboy & Demetrio Partner Edward G. Willer, who represented the woman and her husband, successfully defeated both Defense Motions for Summary Judgment.

“Defeating Delano’s Motion for Summary Judgment was significant as most distributors serve as a mere conduit in the stream of commerce,”  said Willer, who presented evidence that Delano Conveyor had a significant role in the design of the subject conveyor including that it approved the design drawings, which had no provision for a physical guard to protect the in-running nip point area. 

Less than a week after the occurrence, Buddig hired a sheet metal contractor to install a physical guard without it affecting productivity and cleanliness of the conveyor system. 

“Both Defendants claimed that Buddig was a sophisticated user and elected not to order physical guards for the machine. The consensus of the industry standards, however, mandated that the manufacturer place physical guards in areas of in-running nip points,” Willer added.

Of the $3.25 million, Eaglestone, the manufacturer of the belt, paid $2.25 million; Delano, the distributor, paid $1 million; and Carl Buddig and Company waived its full Illinois Worker’s Compensation Lien.

Case info: #20L4197, filed on April 20, 2020, in Cook Co. Circuit Court, and settled on Dec. 15, 2023.

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