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Malfunctioning Machinery Maims Michigander

Grand Rapids, MI saw an unfortunate incident involving the death of one Wanda Holbrook, who lost her life in an incident involving machinery she was making adjustments on. Holbrook was a journeyman maintenance technician for Ventra Ionia LLC, a company that performs stamping, molding and other services for car parts, such as bumpers, and trailer hitches. She was inspecting machinery for trailer-hitch components when she was crushed by a robot that was meant to be in a different section than the one she was working on, which caused a fatal traumatic head injury. Holbrook was later found dead by co-workers, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Holbrook’s Case

Wanda Holbrook is survived by William Holbrook, who has since filed legal action against a number of defendants for Wanda’s death. Mr. Holbrook has named Prodomax Automation Canada, Flex-N-Gate LLC, FANUC America Corp., Nachi Robotic Systems Inc., and Lincoln Electric Company in a wrongful death case.

According to court documents, Wanda was working in one of many numbered sections to inspect the machinery, either section 140 or section 150. A manufacturing robot from a different section, section 130, entered the section she was working on and caused her death by attempting to place a hitch assembly in section 140, when a hitch assembly was already in that section.

The plaintiff’s documents state that, not only should a robot from a different section never have entered her section in the first place, the robot should also not have attempted to place a hitch in a position where one was already present. These two things in tandem, according to the plaintiff, were the result of a failure of the safety systems, and were responsible for Wanda’s death. In addition, the lawsuit also claims that the automation system in the work area was already out of adherence to a number of safety regulations, which contributed to the incident. In addition, safety doors, which were installed in order to prevent robot movements, were ineffective.

William Holbrook is currently seeking unspecified damages, and the lawsuit has claims on both wrongful death and product liability. These claims rest upon the plaintiff’s ability to show that these systems were defective or improperly functioning.

Wrongful Death Cases

As the name implies, wrongful death cases often involve a wrongdoing or act of negligence that results in fatal harm coming to a person. Because the victim of these acts is deceased, these legal actions are brought on by surviving family members. The law places certain restrictions on who may act as a plaintiff in these scenarios, but it is most often the next of kin, or a surviving husband or wife. Damages can be awarded for things like medical expenses that were incurred by the deceased and loss of consortium.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the legal professionals at Gilman & Bedigian today.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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