Warshauer Woodward Atkins Secures $13 Million Verdict in Forklift Accident Case

Warshauer Woodward Atkins Secures $13 Million Verdict in Forklift Accident Case
Jan 30, 2024

Southern District of Illinois Awards Thirteen Million Dollar Verdict in Favor of Effingham, Illinois Woman

On January 18, 2024, after 8 days of testimony, a six-person jury reached a verdict in favor of Ms.
Adelaida Anderson, and against The Raymond Corporation, in the amount of $13,045,776.00. Included
in this amount was $200,000.00 for the losses suffered by her now deceased husband, Jeff Anderson.
No liability was apportioned to Ms. Anderson. It is expected that approximately $2,000,000.00 of prejudgment
interest will be added to the verdict consistent with Illinois law that requires pre-judgment
interest be added to any verdict in a case involving negligence or strict liability.

The Plaintiff, Adelaida Anderson, worked as a standup forklift operator at a FedEx warehouse in
Effingham, Illinois. On July 29, 2017, she was operating a Raymond standup forklift that has an
unguarded rear entry. She slipped, lost her balance, and fell out of the forklift. The forklift continued
moving and her foot was caught in the forklifts rear wheel which caused a degloving injury that
required her left leg to be amputated below the knee. Expert testimony, based on evaluation of accident
data from industry and government sources, by Dr. John Myer, P.E. established that operators of similar
standup forklifts suffer serious left foot and leg injuries at least once every 8 days in the United States.
Ms. Anderson filed suit against the forklift’s manufacturer, The Raymond Corporation, alleging the
forklift was unreasonably dangerous.

The case was tried in front of a six-person jury in November 2021 before Judge Stephen McGlynn in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. This trial resulted in a verdict for the
Defendant. Prior to the trial, the Court barred one of Plaintiff’s experts, John Meyer, Ph.D., from offering
his primary alternative design theory – that Raymond should equip each of its forklifts with a door to
assist operators in staying safely on the forklift. The Plaintiff appealed that verdict to the United States
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, arguing that the trial court improperly excluded the evidence
that would have been offered by Dr. Meyer. The Court of Appeals agreed and remanded the case back
to Judge McGlynn for retrial.

The second trial began on January 8, 2024. Testifying on Ms. Anderson’s behalf were mechanical
engineer John Meyer, Ph.D., and life care planner Linda Schwieger, her supervisors at FedEx, as well
as several friends and family members. Defendant Raymond offered testimony from employee Robert
Kerila, mechanical engineer Michael Rogers and biomechanical engineer Kathleen Rodowicz, Ph.D.

Ms. Anderson was represented by Michael J. Warshauer and Natalie S. Woodward of Warshauer
Woodward Atkins, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia and Frank McCoy of McCoy & McCoy, LLC in Hartford,

Defendant the Raymond Corporation was represented by Margaret Heitkamp and Francis LoCoco of
Husch Blackwell and G. Patrick Murphy of Murphy & Murphy, LLC.