Personal Injury Defense - James Offord and Patricia Offord v. United States Gypsum Corporation, Seacoast Supply, and L&W Supply Corporation
Mr. Kerrigan and Mr. Glas obtained precedent-setting summary judgments on behalf of U.S. Gypsum Corporation and its subsidiary, L&W Supply Corporation, in a multi-million dollar untarping case. The plaintiff was a Western Express truck driver who was paralyzed after falling from atop his load of stacked sheetrock while on L&W Supply property. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants knew that truck drivers were sometimes forced to climb their load during untarping, and did nothing to prevent the practice or protect the drivers. The plaintiff argued that the defendants owed a duty under OSHA's Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine and Louisiana state law, and breached that duty by failing to provide fall protection, warnings, and assistance. The defendants argued that they owed no duty to tell a non-employee, professional truck driver how to do his job while on L&W Supply property. Judge Engelhardt of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana wrote an eleven-page judgment agreeing that the defendants neither owed nor assumed a duty to the plaintiff; he further concluded that the plaintiff's "failure to take precautions when faced with obvious risk, combined with [Western Express’] seemingly lax driver/untarping policies and procedures, resulted in an unfortunate accident. [The plaintiff’s] remedy, albeit limited, is found in workers’ compensations benefits provided by his employer.” The ruling was issued one week before trial, and only days after opposing counsel demanded $8 million to settle the case.
James Offord and Patricia Offord v. United States Gypsum Corporation, Seacoast Supply, and L&W Supply Corporation, USDC EDLA, No. 07-8704, Section “N.”