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Defendants claim protection in Pa. workplace accident suit

An individual injured by a crane at the Fairless Hills U-Haul factory brought allegations of negligence leading to an unsafe working environment against four related defendants. The injury occurred in March of 2012 when a crane fell on the worker and caused several serious injuries, including disc injuries and spinal fractures. The lawsuit seeks payment for the Pennsylvania resident's medical expenses, including surgery.

Lawyers for the defendants have entered motions in an attempt to change venue and remove themselves from the list of defendants. Lawyers for U-Haul and Falls manufacturing company have also filed a motion alleging protection from the worker's claims under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. Civil claims involving workplace accidents are not allowed under the Act, according to the plaintiffs' petition. This petition rests on the "borrowed servant" doctrine, which in turn relies on the courts accepting that the worker was an employee of Centrix Staffing and only a "borrowed servant" of the defendants.

Lawyers for U-Haul Co. of Pennsylvania and U-Haul International Inc. also requested that the case be transferred from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to the federal courts. This petition was made based on citizenship diversity and the amount of damages sought by the plaintiff.

An accident on the job can lead to many uncertainties for workers placed through a staffing agency. In this case, the employers benefiting from the worker's labor are attempting to remove themselves from responsibility for the worker's injuries. Large businesses often have lawyers on staff dedicated to removing the company's liability. An attorney with experience litigating workplace accidents may be able to help injured employees navigate the complicated legal proceedings.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "U-Haul lawyers petition to transfer Phila. workplace injury suit to federal court," Jon Campisi, Feb. 22, 2013

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