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Longshoreman Personal Injury

Walterboro, SC: (Oct-01-07) Michael Clarkin and his family brought a lawsuit against the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA), after he was nearly crushed to death in 2004. An empty shipping container broke loose in mid-air, plunged 50 feet and bounced onto Clarkin's parked Ford Explorer. The suit claimed that the Mount Pleasant longshoreman was sitting in his SUV when a toplifter, an overhead device that uses tong-like arms to secure and lift containers, abruptly failed, allowing the container to drop. Though he survived, family members say Clarkin's injuries were both physical and mental. His legs, back and neurological system were all impaired after the incident. The accident came during a period of increased safety concerns for the SPA. Clarkin's injury was the fourth time in five months that year that a dockworker had been injured or killed at a state-run port terminal. Clarkin, a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1771, was employed by Stevedoring Services of America at the time of the accident.

In a settlement reached, Michael Clarkin and his family settled their suit for $13.2 million, making it the largest personal injury settlement in state history. SPA spokespersons claimed that the equipment failure was blamed on a design defect that was corrected later. [CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER: LONGSHOREMAN INJURY]

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Published on Oct-2-07


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