On July 28, 2016, the defendant, Demetris D. Owens, delivered a semi-trailer truck to a warehouse loading dock at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
The plaintiff, Michael Heatherly II, a forklift operator, attempted to unload the materials inside the truck by driving his forklift onto the truck from the dock. As he moved the forklift over the threshold from the dock to the trailer, the truck rolled forward. With Heatherly inside, the forklift fell off the dock approximately 4 feet to the ground.
He suffered permanent spine injuries, which required physical therapy and steroid injections. He did not undergo surgery. However, he is no longer able to work as a forklift driver and is unable to pursue a career as a union glazier as he intended before this tragic incident.