Gruesome Injury to Cost Italian Company Millions

     (CN) – An Italian company owes $4.3 million for the “degloving” of a worker’s hand, “in which his skin was torn away and his fingers were partially amputated,” a federal judge ruled.
     Gil Grove’s left hand was pulled into the rollers of a Rizzi smoothing and drying machine at Garden State Tanning on Aug. 7, 2002, in Reading, Pa.
     “Following this gruesome injury, Mr. Grove has undergone surgeries, physical therapy, and other medical treatments, and his claimed losses include permanent disfigurement, an inability to work, loss of earning capacity, and continuing pain and suffering,” U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter noted.
     Grove had filed a federal complaint in 2004 against Rizzi 1857 S.P.A., which made the machine and sold it to Garden State Tanning.
     After extending the case for years, Rizzi’s counsel withdrew in May 2006 since the company had voluntarily liquidated itself under Italian law and wished to proceed unrepresented.
     Pratter held Rizzi liable in March 2013, disagreeing that Grove had been injured because of people over whom the company “has no control and for whom it is not responsible.”
     “The machine was defective because it lacked all the necessary safety features to protect users, including an automatic shut-off mechanism on its underside that would have prevented a worker’s hand, like Mr. Grove’s, from being crushed,” the judge wrote, accepting Grove’s strict product liability theory.
     Rizzi’s “intentional” misconduct did not help its case, either.
     “While Rizzi did eventually answer Mr. Grove’s complaint, it has gone years without actively defending itself in this action and, as stated above, ignored numerous orders issued by the court,” Pratter wrote. “This conduct qualifies as culpable, and as such, the third factor favors granting default judgment.”
     Pratter then set a jury trial to determine damages and entered a $4.3 million judgment for Grove on Tuesday.
     Grove’s attorney, William Coppol of the Pennsauken, N.J.-based Law Offices of John T. Dooley, was unable to comment at this time.

%d bloggers like this: