Elevated Concern

Elevated Concern
August 26, 2013

David L. Applegate

David Applegate is a Chicago-based trial lawyer and partner at the law firm of Williams Montgomery... (read full bio)

When James and Tricia Keene hired Brint Construction in 2011 to build a vacation home for them in the Galveston County, Texas, neighborhood of Crystal Beach, they decided $20,000 was too much to pay for an elevator, so they hired Easy Lift Cargo Lifts of nearby Galveston to install a cargo lift at a fraction of the cost. Easy Lift made, installed, and guaranteed the lift, complete with the following warning sign: “This device is NOT to be used for lifting human beings or animals.” After installing the lift in March 2012, Easy Lift left the Keenes’ contractor, Brint Construction, to finish hooking up the electricity.

First-time readers will find this hard to believe, but – against all odds – the Keenes ignored the warning sign, and some months later, while either trying to fix the lift or riding in it, Mr. Keene injured his arm. So the Keenes sued Brint Construction – but not Easy Lift. It’s probably pure coincidence that Brint is located in Jefferson County, Texas, which the American Tort Reform Association has designated for at least three years in a row as a “judicial hellhole,” while the Keenes, the property, and Easy Lift are all located in less plaintiff-friendly Galveston County.

It’s also probably pure coincidence that the Keenes later added Easy Lift as a defendant after having filed the case in Jefferson County. Maybe once they win they can have a real elevator installed, but probably not by either Easy Lift or Brint.

Source: “Why are James and Tricia Keene suing the wrong company?”, Southeast Texas Record, June 11, 2013.

David L. Applegate

David Applegate is a Chicago-based trial lawyer and partner at the law firm of Williams Montgomery... (read full bio)