Cordell v. Coker Crane Rental, Et Al.

Clarence Cordell was operating a tower crane in Las Vegas that had been rented to his employer by Defendant Coker Equipment Company. For approximately two months prior to the accident, a hydraulic reservoir continually leaked fluid onto the crane ladder turntable, a flat round area the operator walked across. Mr. Cordell had repeatedly complained about the leaking fluid but no action was taken to fix the reservoir. When exiting the cab, Mr. Cordell slipped on the fluid and fell approximately 10 feet before becoming entangled on a ladder preventing a fall of approximately 160 feet. He was diagnosed with a substantial bulging disc which was treated conservatively. He was able to return to work a couple of months later.

Approximately ten months later, Mr. Cordell was operating a different high-tower crane in Las Vegas which was manufactured by Leibherr. The cab of the crane was not equipped with an air conditioner. Due to high heat within the cab, crane operators left open the floor hatch creating a draft to cool the cab. Mr. Cordell was entering the crane cab through the roof hatch when his previously injured left leg buckled causing him to fall 10 to 15 feet through the floor hatch which had been left open due to the heat. He landed on a lower platform completely rupturing the disc he had previously injured and also sustaining a substantial closed head injury.

Plaintiff proceeded against Coker Equipment Company for its failure to properly maintain the reservoir on the first crane permitting the oil and grease to be in the path of the crane operator. Plaintiff also pursued a products liability action against Leibherr, the second crane manufacturer, on the theory that the crane cab should have been equipped with an air conditioner. The case was favorably resolved with both defendants immediately prior to trial.


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