Nancy Winkler represented two men who were severely and permanently injured by defective machinery at a local factory. The two men, one aged 35 and the other 25 were told by their supervisor to change a roll on large machine used to cut and coil various metals. This is a very common task in the factory, happening up to four times a day but neither man had changed a roll without the help of a supervisor prior to the incident. A supervisor had asked the 35 year old man to change the roll by himself because it was a busy day at the factory and he enlisted the help of the 25 year old man.
Having little experience in changing the roll unassisted by a supervisor, the 35 year old misunderstood how to specifically carry out the dangerous task of changing the 1,200 pound roll. He did not know to secure the roll before loosening the bolts that hold it in place before attempting to remove the roll from the machine. This grave mistake caused the 1,200 pound roll to fall from the machine and crush the two men under its immense weight. The roll crushed the upper and lower extremities of the 35 year old and crushed the right ankle and right hand of the 25 year old man.
Winkler prepared a case that showed the factory had prior knowledge of a safety design defect with the machine and crude attempts were made by factory workers to prevent the roll from falling from the machine during a change. Machine inspection showed no warning labels or instructions on how to perform a roll change. Upon further investigation it was learned that the manufacturer of the machine knew of the defect and admitted that it supplied insufficient training to the factory workers on how to change the roll. The instruction manual supplied by the manufacturer did not even give instructions on how to perform the daily task of changing the massive roll.
As a result of the incident the men suffered severe and permanent injuries to their legs and hands. The 35 year old who sustained the majority of the blow from the roll needed 13 surgeries to attempt to salvage motor function in his hands and legs. He will be on narcotics for the remainder of his life to combat his pain and his injuries prevent him from working the rest of his life. There is significant scaring and disfiguration on his right hand and leg and he is limited in carrying out the daily activities of life.
The 25 year old suffered severe and permanent injuries to this right wrist and right ankle. After months of hospital visits and therapy sessions he was able to regain mobility and functionality in his wrist and ankle. Despite the effort he still has 40% right hand disability and 55% right leg disability. His injuries leave him with pain and discomfort that will only get worse with age.
At a mediation hearing, Winker was able to secure $1.2 million for the 35 year old man and $250,000 for the 25 year old.