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$1 Million Equipment Settlement

CONSTRUCTION MISHAP VICTIM FILES LAWSUIT

Worker seeks $1 million

By ANNE KIM
Herald Writer

Attorneys for the victim of a July 26 construction accident at Mystic Pointe in Northeast Dade have filed a $1 million negligence suit against an equipment manufacturer.

Willie Johnson, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, fell through the fifth floor of a building when a concrete pump snapped and crashed down where he and four other workers were standing.

Attorney Brett Panter said the accident almost severed Johnson’s ankle. Johnson was released Thursday from Parkway Regional Medical Center and will continue physical therapy as an outpatient.

Another victim, Albert Jerger, 29, is at Huumana Hospital-Biscayne with fractures of his pelvis, leg and ribs.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Dade County Circuit Court, accuses Delaware Concrete Pump Sales Inc. of Newcastle, Del., of inadequate testing, supervision and inspection of the pump.

Because of Florida’s workman’s compensation laws, Johnson cannot sue his employer, Warren’s Concrete Service of Northeast Dade, Panter said.

The owner of Warren’s Concrete Service declined to comment.

“I think we have a great case – a compelling case,” said Panter. “[Delaware] gambled with lives and workers’ well-being, and they should pay the price.”

The suit also claims the pump contained a defective weld, which caused it to snap. But Joe DellAversano, a spokesman for Delaware Concrete Pump Sales Inc., said his company wasn’t responsible for the weld.

“He’s got a slim chance of getting a conviction on us,” DellAversano said. “Warren bought it, they welded it.”

DellAversano said his company sells its pumps unassembled. “We didn’t inspect the weld because it wasn’t up to us,” He said Warren Concrete bought the pump about a month ago.

Johnson’s doctors have told him he will not he able to work again, Panter said. “He’s a little depressed,” said Panter. “the future is glum for him.”

Panter said Johnson will not comment.

Johnson will live with a brother in Fort Lauderdale while he recovers, and Panter said he hoped to get the case to trial within a year.

Luis Santiago, acting area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said an investigation by his office will be complete in two or three weeks.

Panter, Panter & Sampedro

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