David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section

Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement Recognized in New Jersey Law Journal’s Special Section

By JW Law


Date: May 2017


Attorney: David Wikstrom


Award: $2.7 Million


On August 28, 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal published its annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” special section, which identifies the largest reported personal injury awards for the year. Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section. The $2.7 million settlement was one of the thirty largest settlements or jury verdict awards in New Jersey for the period of August 20, 2016, and August 21, 2017.

The case:

In 2013, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, an employee of Ronell Management was hired to clean food preparation equipment at Premio Foods in Hawthorne.

Martinez-Carassco was working on a large mixing and blending machine which included large metal paddles spinning around a large bowl to mix sausage filling. As he reached under the bowl with a hose to spray down the discharge door at the bottom of the mixer, he slipped causing his hand to be pulled into the mixer. As a result, his left, nondominant hand was severed from his arm. The doctors were unable to reattach the severed arm surgically and had to perform an amputation below his elbow.

The lawsuit named Premio and included products liability claims against Apache Stainless Steel, the machine’s manufacturer. The suit also named Ronell claiming that “the workers’ compensation bar to recovery should not apply because Martinez-Carassco was directed by his employer to clean the mixer with the paddles turning, posing a substantial certainty of injury,” Wikstrom told the Law Journal.

The suit claimed that two separate safeguard devices designed to prevent the paddles from spinning when the discharge door was open, were bypassed and disabled. “One such device required the user to access a control panel several feet away and depress two buttons simultaneously for the paddles to function with the discharge door open” Wikstrom added.

Apache contended that the mixing machine was built with proper safeguards, but Martinez-Carassco contended that the design did protect against certain misuses, according to Apache’s attorney.

The attorneys said a 2003 email from Premio to Apache demonstrated that Premiohad disabled the safeguards and was aware for the ten years leading up to the accident that the machine was being operated without guards.

The parties settled two days before trial through mediation. Premio agreed to pay $2.5 million; Ronell and Apache, $100,000 each for the damages.



New Jersey Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement in NJLJ Annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” Section

The takeaways:

Workplace injuries are among the most common grounds for personal injury claims. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 New Jersey’s private industry employers reported 72,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

Martinez-Carassco case, said Wikstrom, demonstrates the importance of workplace safety.

How to protect yourself from workplace injuries?
• Never take a risk that is outside your safety protocol. Most construction accidents can be avoided if the worker a) follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety protocols
and b) follows the safety protocols of the general contractor.
• Always use your safety equipment. If you feel you need more safety equipment, ask your safety foreman.
• Never work on machines that have safety guards dismantled or bypassed. The safety guards on machines are designed for the safety of the worker.

Even when companies take appropriate workplace safety precautions, accidents happen. How employers respond to these accidents can make all the difference.

In most cases, employers, insurers, and their lawyers tend to use deceptive tactics to avoid paying compensation to the injured worker. Some of them include: blaming the victim for the accident, denying claims altogether, delaying the legal proceedings, using out of context recorded statements, refuting the cost of treatment and advising the victim to see the company doctor.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side from the very beginning can help you successfully challenge the strategies and arguments employers and insurers use to avoid paying the compensation you deserve. Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation attorneys know precisely how employers and insurance companies work, what strategies they use and how to tackle them effectively.

“Defense attorneys in product liability and workplace safety cases often try to blame each other or the plaintiff as the cause of the accident. As attorneys for the plaintiffs, we combat these arguments utilizing experts and government documents and standards such as from OSHA,” added Wikstrom.

[Read Related: Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims]
Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney in New Jersey

Javerbaum Wurgaft Adds New Attorney in New Jersey

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft is pleased to announce that Sarabraj S. Thapar, Esq. has joined the firm as an associate attorney in Jersey City, New Jersey. Thapar is an accomplished trial attorney and has an extensive experience in handling personal injury and insurance matters.

Thapar joins the firm after working for a prominent insurance defense firm. During his tenure as an insurance defense attorney, Thapar won 18 out of 19 trials for his clients. He has also lectured at various insurance defense seminars and mentored new attorneys. He received the Bravo Award from Liberty Mutual for his outstanding trial work in 2015 and 2016.

Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney in New Jersey

Thapar has a double major in Business Economics and Criminal Justice from Rutgers University-New Brunswick where he graduated with Honors. He received his law degree
from The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Upon his graduation, Thapar interned for Judge Donald Venezia where he handled criminal matters.

He is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association, Essex County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division- Essex County and Sikh American Chamber of Commerce.

A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Thapar is a former assistant wrestling coach at West Orange High School where he has been coaching mock trials since 2012. Thapar is fluent in Hindi.

[Read Related: Retired Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice]

Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

Javerbaum Wurgaft in Top 20 for Personal Injury Award

Personal Injury Attorney Eric Kahn Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims

By JW Law

Eric Kahn, the managing partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, was recently recognized in the August 28, 2017 edition of the New Jersey Law Journal for obtaining one of the top 20 personal injury recoveries in New Jersey in 2017.

Each year, the American Lawyer Media’s New Jersey Law Journal ranks the top 20 personal injury recoveries in a special edition of its publication. With a combined total settlement of $4.65 million, the award achieved by Mr. Kahn ranked 11th overall as the largest in the State.

The case, Tulli v. Feist, involved a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver. Mr. Kahn and Javerbaum Wurgaft have a long history of successfully holding drivers, bars, and restaurants responsible in dram shop and drunk driving cases.

Mr. Kahn represented Deborah Tulli, one of three victims involved in the June 4, 2013 crash. On that date, after being served while intoxicated at Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano in Monroe Township, Ernest Feist, driving over 100 mph on Hoffman Station Road, struck Ms. Tulli head-on causing her tocollide with a third vehicle. As a result of the forceful collision, Ms. Tulli suffered multiple fractures and underwent several surgeries.

Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

The passenger in Mr. Feist’s vehicle and the driver of the third vehicle were also injured as a result of the crash. At the time of the collision, Mr. Feist had a blood-alcohol concentration of .204, more than twice the legal limit of .08 for operating a vehicle. Mr. Feist was driving a vehicle registered to his business, Feist Engineering.

Suits by Ms. Tulli and the other two plaintiffs were consolidated and the subject of two settlement conferences before Superior Court Judge Jessica Mayer in Middlesex County. On Nov. 4, 2016, the case settled for $4.65 million, with $3.9 million paid by insurance carriers for Mr. Feist and Feist Engineering, and another $750,000 paid by the carrier for Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano.

“While my client will never fully recover from her injuries, it was important to hold both the drunk driver responsible as well as the restaurant that over-served him on the afternoon of the accident. Our dram shop laws are designed not only to compensate victims of accidents involving drunk drivers but also to act as a deterrent to establishments that are more concerned about profits from selling alcohol rather than the safety of others,” said Mr. Kahn.

Tulli received $3.1 million under the settlement.

Javerbaum Wurgaft was also recognized in the special edition of the Law Journal for the firm’s $2.7 million settlement in a products liability case. David Wikstrom, a partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, represented the plaintiff, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, who lost his arm while cleaning food preparation equipment at a sausage plant in 2013.
[Read Related: Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorneys Answer the Call for Victims of Drunk Driving]