DeBias v. Coastal Lumber Co., 2014 W. Va. LEXIS 755 (June 13, 2014)

Co-counsel in successful defense of employer in deliberate intent action arising from serious injuries, including paralysis, incurred by a truck driver when a load of lumber fell from a flatbed trailer and struck him during the unloading process. The parties strongly disputed whether Coastal’s training of its forklift operators created a specific unsafe working condition which presented a high degree of risk and a strong probability of serious injury or death, whether Coastal had actual knowledge of the existence of that specific unsafe working condition, and whether its training regimen was a violation of OSHA forklift training standards. Complicated liability and medical issues have required the involvement of expert witnesses in a wide array of specialties. Coastal Lumber moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish any of the statutory elements of his deliberate intent claim. The Circuit Court of Randolph County agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Coastal Lumber. On appeal, the Supreme Court of West Virginia affirmed.