Stuck Excavator Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Dirtman2007, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. Dirtman2007

    Dirtman2007 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,366

    so here's a stange one for you. I received an email the other day after several of my extreme mud digging videos were watched by this person.

    So here's what the email consisted of. I've **** out some of the names to keep them private, but I'd like your oppinions too. Personally I don't think they have a good case?

    Hi Christopher, my name is Carl B***** and I am an attorney in Saluda, VA. I have a case involving a stuck excavator and I came across some of your videos on Utube. My paralegal, Heather, was able to contact you and I appreciate your willingness to help us. My client is John Luttrell (Luttrell), and the adverse party is Ransone’s Nursery and Maintenance (Ransone). Luttrell formerly worked for Ransone, and in the course of his employment operated one or more of the Case CX 160 excavators owned by Ransone.

    Ransone is engaged in land clearing and marine contracting which as you know is hard on equipment. At some point, Luttrell left Ransone and started his own business. Luttrell wanted to dredge out a sandy creek bed to allow small boats to use a creek adjoining his land. Ransone was familiar with the proposed project and hoped to benefit from it by installing a dock and pier for an upstream land owner. Luttrell rented a 2002 Case CX 160 excavator from Ransone on February 24, 2008, to do the dredging work in the creek. The machine was delivered by Ransone to the job site, and Luttrell started work that afternoon.

    In a short time, the excavator became mired in the sand just over the tracks. Luttrell was unable to free the machine because it did not have sufficient power to multitask with the boom and tracks at the same time. Luttrell immediately stopped the work and called Ransone’s foreman to the job site. The foreman looked at the stuck excavator and laughed saying: “what do you mean stuck, I will show you how to free the excavator.” As you can guess, the foreman could not free the excavator either. At this point, Luttrell turned the recovery operation over to Ransone and its employees.

    The next day, the foreman arrived with another Case CX 160 excavator. He drove into the creek bed with no trouble and scooped out around the tracks of the stuck machine to reduce suction pressure. The foreman told Luttrell to start the stuck excavator and fully extend the boom. Then the foreman positioned his excavator facing Luttrell and grabbed the teeth of Luttrell’s bucked with the teeth of his bucket and began to lift and pull backward. This maneuver caused Luttrell’s excavator to tip back on the rear of the tracks at which time it broke through the sand bottom and sank in the creek causing water to be ingested into the engine. This of course effectively destroyed the machine. Two days later and with the help of three excavators, the sunken excavator was recovered. Luttrell paid the recovery bill of about $5,400 to Ransone.

    Ransone filed a claim with his insurance company for the loss of the excavator which he said was worth $85,000. The insurance company paid $75,000 and has now sued Luttrell to recover the funds paid. It is Luttrell’s position that although the excavator became stuck on his watch, he turned the recovery effort over to Ransone who botched the recovery effort causing the excavator to sink and ingest water into the engine.

    What do you think of the recovery effort by Ransone? What did they do wrong? How would you have approached the problem? Tell me about your knowledge and experience in dealing with stuck excavators or other track equipment.

    I am authorized by Mr. Luttrell to compensate you for time spent in consulting on this case at the rate of $50 per hour. If you conclude as have I that Ransone botched the recovery effort, I would like to use you as an expert witness when the case goes to trial in which event we can discuss additional compensation for your time and expertise.

    Thank you very much for your assistance. Please let me know if you need further information from me.

  2. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,131

    Just ignore it dude, who cares, you know how many times I won a Nigerian lottery or some Joe Shmoe wants to send me money if I send him my personal info.

    You will make more than just 50 bucks if you ignore it and get back to work. Like you are the only person in the entire world that can assist them in telling the parties involved that they are a bunch of f**k ups.
  3. crab

    crab LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 633

    Do it dude ,why not you can start a whole new venture
  4. IES

    IES LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    Give them an honest assessment of the situation obviously you have drawn attention and are already considered an expert. As the attorney I'm sure it's not easy to find an operator with documented skill
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  5. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,714

    I would talk to them. Heck, if they want to use you, you can charge $100/hour, plus any and all expenses. If you have valuable knowledge that they think will help them, then get paid for it. It is a lot easier work than you are doing ever day right now.
  6. ioilyouin

    ioilyouin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    Luttrell turned over the ex recovery Ransone. Luttrell was under the foreman's direction. His actions are not the cause for the CASE's demise.
  7. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    The employee paid the recovery fee? Man screw that sh!t, things happen. There should be no way possible that the insurance company can sue an employee after he acknowledged his mistake before damage was done and notified management. Anything from there on out, whether he was involved with the recovery or not, should be on the employer. That is the most ridiculous story I think I've ever read.

    As for helping the attorney, if he's for real I don't see why you shouldn't.
  8. Ozz

    Ozz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 887

    Nope. It's Ransone's foreman's fault, as he was directing the recovery at the time. Ransome could say that they took over after a f**k up, and it's Luttrell's fault the machine was there in the first place, and go to the root cause; but it's still a pretty weak case.

    Scag; it was not the employee of Ransone in the hoe when it got stuck. It was the independent contractor, Luttrell.
  9. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Ah, I see that part now. I saw the employment part at the top but missed the part where it said he started his own venture. Either way, he turned over the recovery to Ransone, therefore it's their ass. That also explains him paying the recovery. However, their foreman caused the machine to take a dip, it's more or less his fault.
  10. Ozz

    Ozz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 887

    Ask to see the site. Do that before anything else. After that; then you can make your best estimate as to what to do. My take from the information given is:

    Frankly, I would have tried to hook the hoe up to a dozer and winch from the undercarriage of the hoe. If the dozer was anchored correctly, the hoe couldn't have slid back; at least in principle. Then I would have dug around the hoe; and hooked again to the U/C and use both machines to pull it out. But that's assuming they had that equipment. I do; but Ransone may not have. If all they had was the other hoe; then they still could have pulled from a lower point, and attached the two machines better than "grabbing the teeth of the bucket with the other machine's bucket."

    But, before making any more assumptions; I would want to see the site.

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