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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Carwash Worker Sues Over Lost Leg

CONWAY, Ark. (CN) - The manufacturer of conveyorized car wash systems failed to build in safeguards that would have prevented a car wash employee from losing his leg, the injured worker claims in a lawsuit.

Dominic Walton sued Sonny's Enterprises Inc., the manufacturer of the tunnel car wash equipment, in Faulkner County circuit court.

He says Sonny's failed to recognize an entrapment hazard existed in its carwash design and did not properly instruct users on methods that would have prevented the New Year's Eve 2012 incident that caused the amputation of his right leg below the knee.

As described in the complaint, Wilson was in the process of washing down the facility of his employer, Conway Carwash, when his "shoe and/or shoestrings were caught by the conveyor system responsible for moving the cars through the carwash."

"The process of washing down the tracks required Walton to open a guard/door enclosing the rollers and chain system. Walton's shoestring and/or shoe was caught by the roller or the chain system causing the roller to take Walton's leg through the carwash as if he were a vehicle," the Conway man says in his lawsuit.

"The roller and/or chain system pulled Walton's leg through the mechanical track to the end of the conveyor system resulting in serious injury to Walton's right foot and ankle necessitating an amputation of his right leg below his knee," the complaint says.

Walton says he is unable to perform his normal activities and will continue to undergo medical treatments, including the need for prosthetics and future surgeries.

CEO Paul Fazio declined to comment lawsuit, saying he has not yet been served and had "no idea of the claim."

Sonny's Enterprises bills itself as the world's largest manufacturer of conveyorized carwash equipment, parts and supplies, according to its website. The Florida-based company says it has tunnel systems running in all 50 states and equipment in countries worldwide.

Walton says the carwash was "unreasonably dangerous and defective in that it created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to the intended users and/or operators of the system."

He says Sonny's failure to implement adequate safety devices, such as interlocking guarding technology, or with proper warning and instruction methods led to his injuries.

Conway Carwash is not listed as a party in the suit.

Walton seeks compensatory damages for product liability, negligence and wantonness for the manufacturer's "indifference to the consequences of the uncontrolled hazard to Walton."

He is represented by Thomas J. Diaz with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton of Little Rock.

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