Personal Injury – Product Liability

Marty Hughes v. Honeywell International

U.S. District Court Case # 5:00-cv-249

Plaintiff was injured while performing a pressurization test on an air-to-air heat exchanger for an F-15 fighter aircraft at King Khalid Air Base in Saudi Arabia. The Defendant, Honeywell, manufactured a "cap" that separated from the heat exchanger and injured Plaintiff's arm resulting in five surgeries. Plaintiff, Marty Hughes, retained Cliff Higby and Bob Spohrer of Jacksonville to pursue the claim. At least four other law firms turned the case down believing it was simply a workers' compensation case. The Defendant removed the case to Federal District Court and extensive motions were filed on the issue of forum non-conveniens attempting to transfer the case to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Higby and Mr. Spohrer successfully defeated the motions, including using a Georgetown law professor on the issue of Sharia Islamic law and its inapplicability to the Plaintiff's case. Plaintiff settled the case after mediation for a confidential lump sum.


Anthony Hodges v. Gulf South Scaffolding Company

Bay County Case # 2011-CA-1422

Tony Hodges was employed by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City. He was working as a machinist helper on the inside of a ferry hull, when a three-level scaffold he was working on tipped over and fell some 30 feet. Mr. Hodges suffered a severe leg injury. Gulf South was the exclusive provider for scaffolding services at Eastern. Mr. Higby sued Gulf South, and the matter was resolved confidentially at mediation. All Longshore Workers' Comp liens and medical liens were satisfied.


Willie Green Jr. v. Gulf South Scaffolding Company

Bay County Case # 2013-CA-0780

Machinist/welder Willie Greene was employed at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City. He was injured at work when he fell from a scaffold that was placed in an area to make "butt seams" in the fuel tank hold accessible. The scaffold had missing "toe boards" and Mr. Greene slipped and fell from the scaffold injuring his neck and back. Mr. Greene's case was settled  approximately two months before trial, and after court-ordered mediation. All medical liens, including Mr. Greene's Longshore Workers' Comp lien, were resolved.


Donnie & Wendy Barfield v. Gulf South Scaffolding Company

Bay County Case # 2013-CA-1747

In yet another case against Gulf South Scaffolding, Eastern Shipbuilding employee Donnie Barfield was injured when a Gulf South employee tipped over a "barrier" scaffold which landed on Mr. Barfield's back. Investigation revealed that the Gulf South employee tested positive for methamphetamines after the accident. Kevin Barr and Mr. Higby moved to amend Mr. Barfield's complaint to include claims for punitive damages 10 days before court-ordered mediation. The case settled for a confidential amount. Mr. Barfield's Longshore Workers' Comp and health provider liens were all satisfactorily resolved.


Barry Broglin v. Trawick, et. al.

Baldwin County Case #CV-01-805

Plaintiff, Barry Broglin, was working for his employer laying fiber-optic cable in Baldwin County, Alabama. Mr. Broglin was driving a Caterpillar backhoe that veered off the dirt logging road he was on and ejected Mr. Broglin due to a faulty seatbelt, and a faulty brake lock down mechanism. Mr. Higby retained Birmingham Attorney, David Elliott, of the law firm Burr & Forman, and the two firms brought a claim on Mr. Broglin's behalf under an exception to Alabama workers' compensation law. The exemption provides there can be direct liability against an employee where a fellow employee has disabled a safety device on a piece of equipment. The Plaintiffs settled the case in excess of $1.5 million after Plaintiffs' expert demonstrated that the employer had willfully disabled the brake lock down mechanism. This was done through detailed photographs taken by the expert witness during investigation of the backhoe.


Thomas Le v. Nabrico, Inc. D/B/A Trinity Marine, et. al.

Bay County Case # 14-1476CA

Mr. Higby and Mr. Barr represented Thomas Le in this product liability case involving a ship hatch door. Mr. Le was a 1st Class Welder employed at Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida. Mr. Le was welding a hatch door onto the deck of a ship when the door sprung open and struck him in the back. The door struck Mr. Le with enough force to cause a compression fracture in his spine. The door pinned Mr. Le down to the deck of the ship until help arrived. Mr. Le was unable to return to his job based on his injuries. Mr. Higby and Mr. Barr retained a local engineer and argued that the hatch door was negligently designed due to the lack of a stopping mechanism that prevented the door from springing open and striking individuals on the ship deck. The case settled for a confidential amount at mediation. Mr. Le's health provider liens and Longshore liens were all satisfactorily resolved.