Widow cannot sue in construction crane fatality

A woman collecting workers compensation survivor benefits after her husband was killed when he was trapped between two industrial cranes in Pennsylvania cannot sue a crane company and its subsidiaries for negligence, as the state’s workers compensation laws bars such suits, among other reasons, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

Crystal Grimsley, the wife of Rickie Lee Grimsley, filed suit asserting claims of negligence against her husband’s co-worker and various corporate entities, including crane company The Manitowoc Co. Inc. and its subsidiary, Grove U.S. LLC for the accident.

A federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Grove and the co-worker based on Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act immunity and in favor of Manitowoc for “failure to state a claim of negligence,” as Manitowoc was found to not be Mr. Grimsley’s employer, according to documents filed in Crystal Grimsley, individually & as administratrix of the estate of Rickie L. Grimsley v. The Manitowoc Co. Inc.; Manitowoc Cranes Cos. LLC; Manitowoc Crane LLC; Grove U.S. LLC; Kyle Mellott, filed in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

In affirming the earlier ruling, the appeals court wrote that in addition to immunity granted in the state’s workers compensation code, Ms. Grimsley “failed to state a claim of negligence against Manitowoc,” which did not control the work area at the time of her husband’s death.  

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