Worker disfigured at Woodway construction site files lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc.

Ellis County man seeks $1 million in damages from heavy equipment manufacturer
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Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 12:40 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A construction worker injured on a job site in Woodway last year has filed a lawsuit against heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc.

Kenneth Troy Willson, of Milford in Ellis County, is seeking more than $1 million in damages in his lawsuit, filed Monday in Waco’s 414th State District Court.

Willson, an employee of SJ Louis Construction of Texas, alleges that design and manufacturing defects on the Caterpillar 390F L hydraulic excavator and negligence on the part of Caterpillar led to his injuries, including amputation of part of his right arm.

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman at Caterpillar corporate headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, did not immediately return phone messages Tuesday.

Willson, who is represented by Dallas attorney Collen Clark, was removing the counterweight on an excavator while working in Woodway June 8, 2021, when the counterweight dropped, crushing Willson, the lawsuit alleges.

The impact resulted in severe injuries, including loss of a part of his right arm, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and gross negligence and claims Caterpillar is liable for Willson’s injuries by “designing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing” the excavator that was “unreasonably, dangerously defective, in that it posed a real risk of the counterweight falling to the ground during the removal process.”

The lawsuit also alleges the company was negligent by failing to warn others about the danger associated with the intended use of the excavator; failing to use due care in its manufacture; failing to use proper materials in its manufacturing process; and failing to properly inspect the equipment.

“The product in question remained in the same condition as when it left CAT’s control from the time it was originally manufactured, distributed and sold by Defendant CAT until it reached SJ Louis and ultimately led to Plaintiff’s serious injuries and damages,” the lawsuit alleges. “Said differently, the product in question was defective and in an unreasonably dangerous condition when it left the hands of the Defendant CAT and remained defective and unreasonably dangerous at all times thereafter until it ultimately caused Plaintiff’s serious injuries and damages.”

A safer, alternative design for the excavator was available to CAT, and the safer design “would have prevented these losses,” the suit claims.

Willson alleges he has suffered physical impairment, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of earnings and earning capacity.

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