Workplace Negligence – An electrical contractor, working at a Target distribution center, sustained serious injuries when he fell from a scissor lift – a Target employee had struck the lift with a forklift Scheurer v. Target, 04-1049 Plaintiff: R. Tucker Yance and Mike A. Worel, Cunningham Bounds Crowder Brown & Breedlove, Mobile Defense: Larry J. Seiter and Celia J. Collins, Johnstone Adams, Mobile Verdict: $10,250,000 for plaintiff Circuit: Mobile, 2-17-06 Judge: Sarah H. Stewart
Randy Scheurer, then age 46 and a contract electrician from St. Louis, MO, was working on 12-10-03 at a Huntsville distribution center for Target. He was standing on a portable scaffold known as a scissor lift. While Scheurer was working, a Target employee drove into the scissor lift with a “stock picker” forklift.
That impact knocked Scheurer from the scissor lift and he fell twenty feet to the concrete floor below. He was badly hurt, sustaining significant spinal fractures at T-11 and mid-spine. Additional injuries included a fractured pelvis, scapula, ribs, and clavicle, as well as a torn rotator cuff. The combination of these injuries has left him permanently disabled.
His wife, Renee, presented a derivative consortium count.
In this lawsuit, Scheurer sued Target and alleged negligence regarding the incident – particularly, the stacking of pallets in the aisle contributed to this wreck. Beyond compensatory damages, plaintiff also sought the imposition of punitive – he pointed to proof the forklift driver had a history of unsafe conduct and in this incident, he passed in a narrow aisle (there were pallets) without sufficient clearance. Target denied fault for the accident.
This case was tried for a week in Mobile, the jury then deliberating an hour. The verdict was for Scheurer – he took $5,000,000 in compensatory damages and the same sum for punitives. His wife’s consortium interest was valued at $250,000, the verdict totaling $10,250,000. A judgment in that sum followed and the matter was dismissed with prejudice several months post-trial.