Shelby personal injury law practice has been interesting so far. While I have handled a few standard car wreck and other personal injury cases in the Shelby area, for the last few years I have been fighting Cleveland County itself. Well, to be more specific, I have been fighting their insurance companies and lawyers. The case involves a local Shelby resident who was killed at the Shelby landfill while working as a temporary employee. He was an employee of WorkForce Staffing and was placed there to help show trucks were to dump trash.
One day while he was showing trucks were to go, a trash compactor driver went out of the area that he was supposed to be working. Compactors are supposed to work in safe areas that are near, but separated from the truck unloading area. The driver went out of his area and approached the loading zone. The temporary employee was guiding a truck backing up, when the compactor ran over him. He was rushed to the hospital, and doctors tried to save him. However, his pelvis and back were crushed, and he passed away after hours being in the hospital.
OSHA investigated the incident and cited Cleveland County for violating safety rules. The family called me in Greensboro and asked me to help with their case. I am from Cherryville, and I have a lot of family and connections to Shelby so I was glad to come there and help. First, we tried to negotiate the case. It seemed straight forward. The county employee wasn’t were he was supposed to be. Someone died as a result. However, the county never made a real offer to resolve the case.
We filed suit on the case, and two law firms have fought against us. We took depositions, and we again tried to negotiate the case. The county refused to negotiate in good faith, and they moved to dismiss the case. The judge in Cleveland County actually dismissed the case. I was shocked. We had to appeal all the way to the court of appeals. The court of appeals overturned the county judge in a unanimous decision. Now, the county has tried to essentially appeal to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The county attorneys and law firms have called countless other lawyers to try and help them. They even tried to recruit other plaintiffs attorneys, but most refused. Even though the county tried to get from what I can tell about twenty plaintiff attorneys to sign on to their appeal, only one agreed. That one attorney, coincidentally, went to law school with one of the county attorneys. Funny how that works.
So, three years later, we are still fighting and now waiting on the supreme court. I know that the law is on our side. I am certain of it. I am confident that the supreme court will agree. If so, then we finally get to come back to Shelby and actually start litigating this wrong death case . Whatever it takes, we will see this personal injury case through.