Pretzel & Stouffer

Summary Judgment Granted for Refinery in Laborer's Injury Claim from 3,400 lb. Plate

Ed Ruff and Rick Kenyon prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a major oil refinery owner. The case was litigated for years in Texas, dismissed, and refiled in Illinois. Plaintiff suffered serious physical, cognitive and psychological injuries, when a 3,400 pound transfer plate fell and struck him during a crane lift on a turnaround project involving a reactor in a Joliet, IL refinery.

Plaintiff demanded $9 million to settle. He had undergone three surgeries, with more expected in the future. Traumatic brain injury with permanent cognitive deficits, post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression were claimed. His medical expenses totaled $500,000. He never returned to work due to permanent disabilities, and his wage loss claim exceeded $1,200,000. On 8/23/17, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the refinery owner as a landowner under Restatement §343, because the allegedly defective rigging procedure was not a condition of the land. Further, the refinery was not liable for failing to adequately supervise and direct independent contractors because it had not retained or exercised control over the operative details of the work, nor did it have actual knowledge or constructive notice of the rigging method used by Plaintiff’s co-worker.

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