Brach Eichler Personal Injury Practice Settles Products Liability Claim for $2.8 Million

This case involves a 70-year-old man, employed by the City of Elizabeth as a street sweeper operator in 2013.  On May 8, 2013, the man was operating a 2005 Johnston MX450 street sweeper in the City of Elizabeth, with the hopper of the street sweeper raised.  He was not aware that the hopper was raised.  As a result of the raised hopper, the man struck a train overpass causing him to be ejected from the vehicle.  As a result of the collision and his subsequent hospitalization, he sustained very serious injuries, including a severe traumatic brain injury.

The man was hospitalized following the accident and admitted to a rehabilitation facility.

Following the accident, a city employee wrote a memo indicating that the street sweeper likely malfunctioned as it was equipped with a limit switch that should have prevented the sweeper from moving in forward or reverse with the hopper raised.  The City then retained an expert who inspected the sweeper and determined that the sweeper had malfunctioned.  Subsequent to the inspection, the City of Elizabeth sold the street sweeper for scrap and additionally sold a second, identical street sweeper for scrap prior to allowing the Plaintiff or any other parties inspect the machines.

Plaintiff brought product liability claims against the manufacturer, Global Environmental Products, Inc., the distributor, U.S. Municipal Supply, Inc., and Johnston North America, whose name appeared on the street sweeper.  The plaintiff also brought claims against his employer – the City of Elizabeth for spoliation, fraudulent concealment, and an intentional wrong claim under Laidlow.  Plaintiff’s counsel was Edward Capozzi and Corey Dietz of Brach Eichler.

The case was mediated by Robert Margulies of Margulies Wind.  The case settled on March 19, 2018, one day prior to the start of the trial.

Defendant City of Elizabeth was represented by Robert Varady. Defendant Global Environmental Products was represented by Lisa Marie DeRogatis. Defendant, U.S. Municipal Supply was represented by Jerald Oleske and Defendant, Johnston North America was represented by Peter Oliver.