Verdicts: Richardson v. Marathon Letourneau
Manufacturer of Dangerous Loader Settles On Eve of Trial
Quinn Richardson and Paul Martin worked for a salvage company. They were
sent by their employer to dismantle an enormous industrial loader so that
the parts could be shipped back to the company and sold.
Richardson was an apprentice and Martin was his supervisor. After the men
elevated and blocked the front wheels of the loader, Mr. Richardson began
removing the right front wheel and tire. The wheel was a rare split-rim
type. He mistakenly removed most of the bolts which held the two halves
of the wheel together. Then, when he could not get the final bolts off,
he started burning them with a torch.
After Mr. Richardson had removed 47 of the 48 bolts and had burned ½
of the last bolt off, the 7,000-pound tire exploded off the hub, hitting
him head on and killing him. Junk from inside of the tire (rubber bladder,
sand, water, etc.) flew out and hit Mr. Martin, causing an eye injury
and brain damage.
Biren Law Group developed a theory that the product (the wheel) was defective
because it had two types of bolts, leading to Mr. Richardson's confusion.
The defendant, which originally claimed it would never make an offer because
the accident was solely caused by the workers, settled on the eve of trial
for a significant confidential amount estimated to be more than half a billion of dollars.