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Jury awards $17 million to Riverside man who lost leg to forklift at PennySaver facility

By in Press Enterprise on July 13, 2017

By Ali Tadayon, Richard DeAtley

A Riverside man who was severely injured in a workplace forklift accident in October 2013 that resulted in the partial amputation of his right leg won a $17 million verdict Tuesday in a lawsuit against PennySaver USA.

Steven Meier, 62, was working as a security guard at the PennySaver facility in Jurupa Valley when he was struck by a reversing forklift, according to a statement from his attorney, Riccardo Echeverria. The forklift crushed his right leg and dragged him for several feet, “degloving” or tearing the skin off his lower limb, the statement said. A second forklift had to lift the first one off of him.

After 11 surgeries, several infections and months spent in hospitals and nursing homes, Meier had to have his leg amputated below the knee in July 2015.

His brother, Rob Meier, spoke on his behalf Wednesday because he said Steven Meier was recuperating from the draining two-week trial and was not up to talking.

Rob Meier said his brother was devastated when he learned that his leg would be amputated.

“He tried as hard as he could, going through all the physical therapy. At that point he was positive … then all of a sudden we go to a doctor who says, ‘Your ankle isn’t doing what it needs to do,’” Rob Meier said.

He said his brother was “extremely independent” before the accident.

“He worked as a security guard, did all his own shopping, and would go wherever he wanted,” he said. “We had a couple of dogs that he would walk … He wasn’t sedentary.”

Efforts to reach the attorneys representing Travelers Insurance, which insured the bankrupt PennySaver company, were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.

In a pretrial statement, an attorney for Travelers called Steven Meier “oblivious” and wrote that he bore responsibility for his injuries. The forklift was equipped with a working backup […]    

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