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Jury finds fork lift distributor at fault for injury of home depot worker ***

September 27, 2000 Press Releases

CONTACT: Sydnie Moore (619) 283-8896 or
Michael Montgomery (619) 238-1811


SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A jury today awarded $880,000 to a local Home Depot worker who was seriously injured by an electric forklift.

Michael Montgomery, an attorney with Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk, represented Larry Cundieff in the case against W.T. Billard Inc., a distributor and maintenance and repair company based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., with offices in San Diego.

Cundieff, 53, is married with two children, and resides in Poway. He was an employee with the Home Depot on Carmel Mt. Rd. when the accident occurred.

“W.T. Billard is the exclusive distributor of Raymond electrical vehicles and responsible for their service and maintenance,” said Montgomery. “Cundieff was employed by Home Depot, and while working on a Raymond Order Picker (an electric forklift used to pick up merchandise off shelves) received a severe electric shock that caused a ruptured tendon — and permanent injury to his left arm. He has since undergone several surgeries, but still suffers permanent loss of strength and loss of mobility in his arm. He has been unable to return to work at Home Depot.”

According to Montgomery, while the evidence clearly showed a lack of maintenance on the vehicle, W.T. Billard denied any responsibility for the injury. “Repairmen for W.T. Billard admitted to finding a bare wire, but later denied there was anything wrong with the machine,” he said. “This is an important verdict, as the jury today made the company step up to take complete responsibility for Cundieff’s plight. The man was injured through no fault of his own, and W.T. Billard had continuously denied any wrongdoing. There will be further legal hurdles, such as appeals process, but at least the jury has given the plaintiff a boost in dealing with a painful, lengthy ordeal.”

Montgomery said that Home Depot was also a party to the lawsuit against W.T. Billard — joining in the lawsuit to recoup the $30,000 that they expended for his medical care, plus disability payments.

The injury occurred on June 1, 1998. The suit was initially filed in May of 1999 in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.

The oldest plaintiffs’ firm in San Diego, Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk has achieved multiple awards and settlements over $1 million. The firm was key in obtaining more than $5 billion from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and was involved in the State of California’s high profile $12 billion settlement with the tobacco companies. Established in 1947, Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk’s eleven attorneys practice in various areas, including personal injury, asbestos litigation, and maritime law, class actions and products liability. The firm is located at 110 Laurel Street in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego. For more information, call (619) 238-1811 or Contact Us online.