Worker crushed by gate
Personal Injury
Los Angeles Superior Court

Facts: On 11/10/2017 at approximately 3:30 pm, Marcos Corona (DOB: 04/25/1972) clocked out from work in the shipping and receiving warehouse of Salsbury Industries, went to his locker, and walked out to the sidewalk where he turned to the right and started walking to his car. Paulino de los Reyes, a co-worker, was closing the first of two large iron access gates to the warehouse loading dock when the gate suddenly and without warning fell onto Mr. Corona, crushing him and causing serious personal injuries. The owner of the property where the incident occurred is a separate legal entity named 6809 Stanford Ave., LLC. Plaintiff sued 6809 Stanford Avenue, LLC who in turn cross-complained against Gomez Welding and Iron Works. Plaintiff added Gomez Welding and Iron Works as a Doe defendant. The workers comp carrier filed a complaint-in-intervention naming both 6809 Stanford Avenue, LLC and Gomez Welding and Iron Works. Investigation conducted by Salsbury Industries in the immediate aftermath of this accident revealed that an error by Gomez Welding in the original fabrication and installation of this gate was the cause of this incident. The access gates to the warehouse driveway and loading dock at 6809 Stanford were built with their stop brackets oriented horizontally rather than upright. The stop brackets (or “stops”) are intended to contact the hard rubber stoppers in order to prevent the gate from coming out of the pocket formed by the parallel vertical uprights of the fences at either end of the access gates. Salsbury Industries was unaware until this accident that the stop brackets of the subject gates had been fabricated improperly. The vintage of the stop brackets was ultimately confirmed by metallurgical analysis of the welding since the stops remain in place, alongside new stop brackets properly oriented. Rudy Gomez, the principal of Gomez Welding, when confronted with the features of the gate which allowed this incident to happen, acknowledged that the stop bracket as it existed on the date of the accident was improper, calling it “mickey mouse”. He insisted under oath that his company did not install the gates with the stop brackets oriented in the fashion which ultimately resulted in this wholly unnecessary accident. He claimed that someone must have altered these components at some later date. Mr. Gomez installed multiple fences and gates of the same design at the Salsbury “campus” of industrial buildings around the accident location. The post-accident investigation by Salsbury revealed that each and every stop bracket on all the other gates were installed in the proper upright orientation.

Damages: Mr. Corona suffered a left hip fracture and multiple orthopedic injuries requiring arthroscopic surgery to his left knee and both shoulders. He was employed through a staffing company for Salsbury Industries, Inc. He had been working there for about a year and a half making $12 per hour, 40 hours per week, boxing, labeling, loading and wrapping pallets, locking up the mailboxes, and sweeping. He had not returned to work since the injury event. Past loss of earnings amounted to $40,000 and future loss of earnings without return to gainful employment came to $400,000. The workers comp lien was $232,611.09 broken down as follows: Medical $30,239.09; Indemnity$13,052.00; Settlement $185,000.00. Medical care provided through various third party lien providers totaled around $370,000. Future medical care consisted of possibly a left hip arthroscopy for a minor labral tear.

Settlement: The case settled after multiple mediation sessions for the gross sum of $2,175,000 (Gomez Welding paid $1,000,000 policy limits and 6809 Stanford paid $1,175,000).