They moved out to Suffolk County where our client became an apprentice working at a community farm.
After one year of working on the farm our client was promoted to marketing manager where he would bring the produce from the farm to the local farmers market in the community. As part of his responsibilities on the farm he would operate the farm tractor, which was an old tractor manufactured in 1991. One of the component parts of the tractor was a start safety switch which was designed by the manufacturer to prevent the tractor from moving unless the clutch was depressed at the time the tractor is started. The lifespan of the safety start switch is shorter than the lifespan of the tractor. Over years of use the start safety switched failed. A workaround or modification by another farm worker or the farm tractor mechanic was made to the tractor that bypassed the start safety switch. This bypass was performed by using a jumper wire. With the bypass in place the tractor could be started without the clutch being depressed.
On the day of this tragic accident our client was standing next to the tractor when the tractor was mounted by a neighbor who was attempting to help do farm work. Neither the neighbor nor our client were aware of the bypass. When the tractor was started by the neighbor it immediately lurched forward knocking our client to the ground. The rear tire of the tractor climbed onto our client which resulted in his death.
When the Finz Firm was contacted extensive legal research was conducted to carve out a theory against the manufacturer that would withstand summary judgment since the modification of the start safety switch, a key safety feature, was made after the tractor left the manufacturing facility.
Thereafter, a team of top experts in the country were retained and extensive discovery and depositions were conducted. While a trial date was approaching, Stuart L. Finz, the law firm’s senior trial attorney, designated to try this case, entered into settlement negotiations. After months of hard negotiations with the lawyers for the manufacturer, the neighbor, the mechanic and the farm, the case was settled in the sum of $3.2 million. Our mission to provide financial security to the decedent’s family was achieved.