Cook County Jury Signs Verdict for $2.4 Million for Injured Contractor Who Fell From a Ladder at a Steel Mill

On Aug. 18, 2009, Douglas Anoman, a radio technician employed by Bartronics LLC, was working at the defendants’ Scrap Metal Services LLC and SMS Mill Services LLC steel mill in Burns Harbor, Ind. The purpose of working there was to service a crane radio. After Anoman removed the radio from the overhead crane cab, he fell while descending a 6-foot ladder and fractured his knee.

Anoman, 46, initially underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery with surgically inserted plates and screws, but eventually he required a total knee replacement arthroplasty.

Anoman maintained at trial that he expended $175,575 for medical expenses and lost $1,035,000 for past and future work and/or reduced earnings as a radio technician.

He argued that the defendants chose not to ensure workplace safety, failed to provide reasonable fall protection and allowed workers to use a ladder that did not comply with OSHA regulations. The ladder’s bottom step was more than twice as far above the ground than the maximum 12 inches mandated by OSHA.

The defendants contended that Anoman jumped from the ladder after his foot slipped and he was therefore at fault for his own injuries. The parties stipulated to the application of Indiana law, which permitted plaintiff’s employer to be named as a non-party and whose name was included on the jury verdict form. The attorney representing Anoman, Kenneth J. Allen of Valparaiso, Ind., noted that the defendants’ offer was $250,000 at the start of the trial and was increased to $750,000 on the last day of trial.

In advance of the jury trial, Anoman’s demand to settle the case was $4 million. His attorney asked the jury to return a verdict of $5 million.

At trial, Anoman’s orthopedic surgeon testified as did two safety experts and an economist. The defendants engaged expert testimony from a safety person and an orthopedic surgeon who testified on behalf of both defendants.

Douglas Anoman v. Scrap Metal Services, LLC, SMS Mill Services, LLC, No. 11 L 66009 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling construction site work injuries, work injury cases and industrial accident cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Palos Park, Calumet City, South Chicago Heights, Barrington, Bellwood, Berwyn, Deerfield, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Naperville, Chicago (Greek Town, Chinatown, Little Italy, Uptown, East Side), Long Grove, Joliet, Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Crystal Lake and Grayslake, Ill.

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