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injuries were estimated to be serious enough to merit atleast a $2.4 million settlement. But who should pay for hisinjuries: Turner Construction or B&C Steel? Or shouldElliot be forced to pay for at least part of his injuries becauseof his own carelessness?Gene Elliot worked for Mabey Bridge and Shore, asmall business that rented temporary steel pedestrian footbridges to other companies. The temporary bridges had tobe put together by the renter, and Elliot’s job was to go tothe site where the steel bridge was going to be installed,show the renter how to bolt the bridge sections togetherand how to install the bridge over a river or waterway, andinspect the bridge to make sure it was done properly andaccording to Mabey Bridge’s high standards. Elliot was adevoted hard worker who strove to do everything possibleto ensure that a bridge installation was successful and accordingto Mabey Bridge’s standards.Turner Construction was a general contractor hired tobuild Invesco Field at the Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.Part of the job involved installing a temporary pedestrianbridge over the Platte River near the stadium. TurnerConstruction subcontracted (hired) B&C Steel to build andinstall the bridge, which Turner Construction would payfor. B&C Steel was a small company that specialized in puttingtogether and installing steel structures like those MabeyBridge rented out. B&C Steel would pick up the bridge, putit together, and install it for Turner Construction.Turner Construction rented the long steel bridgefrom Mabey Bridge. Mabey Bridge agreed that the rentalincluded the services of Gene Elliot, who would be loanedto Turner Construction to instruct and inspect the bridgeassembly and installation. B&C Steel’s workers picked upthe bridge sections from Mabey Bridge’s warehouse anddrove them to the river, but did not unload the bridge sectionswhere they had to be assembled. B&C Steel then hadto move the sections to the correct site, but did not planfor the fence, guardrails, and trolley tracks that were inthe way and later had to work around these obstructions.B&C Steel began bolting the bridge sections together.When Elliot inspected the job, he found the bridge hadbeen bolted together upside down. Elliot made B&C Steeldo the job over, while he climbed up and down and overthe bridge, continuously checking and making sure that allthe bolts were tight and all the pieces were in the rightplace so that the installation would be a success. Whenthe bridge was finished, B&C Steel workers used a truckto move the long steel structure to the edge of the river.Unfortunately, B&C Steel had not adequately checked theroute and their truck hit a low-hanging power line, whichsparked and started a fire. The fire department arrived andput out the fire. Afterwards, the installation job continued.Explore the Concept onmythinkinglab.comETHICS AND THE EMPLOYEE 457B&C Steel workers set up a crane on the other side ofthe river near a retaining wall, and a strong nylon strap wasstrung from the crane, over the water, and tied to one endof the bridge, which was set on rollers. The B&C Steelcrane would lift and pull the bridge over the river to itsside, while workers on the other side of the river pushedon their end of the bridge. The work began, and as thepulling crane held the bridge suspended in the air abouta quarter of the way over the river, Elliot noticed thatthe retaining wall which was supporting the crane on theother side of the river was beginning to collapse, causingthe crane to begin to tip sideways. The B&C Steel craneoperator on the other side began to untie the strap holdingthe bridge. Concerned that once the strap was cut thebridge would fall into the river and the installation wouldend in failure, Elliot ran up on the bridge and gave thestandard emergency OSHA all-stop signal that all constructionworkers know means not to move anything. Butthe bridge, still attached to the crane, somehow moved,and Elliot fell, sustaining numerous pelvic injuries and asevered urethra (the tube that carries urine). The cause ofthe movement was never established.Elliot sued Turner Construction and B&C Steel fornegligence resulting in economic losses of $28,000, noneconomicinjuries of $1,200,000, and permanent impairmentof $1,200,000. These figures were established by aqualified expert in the field of worker injuries and were notseriously contested.Turner Construction, however, denied its responsibility.It claimed that Turner was Elliot’s temporary employerand workers’ compensation law required employersto pay only the economic losses, here only $28,000, sufferedby their employees. Turner Construction pointed tothe law, which stated: “Any company leasing or contractingout any part of the work to any lessee or subcontractor,shall be construed to be an employer and shall be liableto pay [only] compensation for injury resulting therefromto said lessees and subcontractors and their employees.”Turner Construction claimed that Mabey Bridge wasa subcontractor to Turner to the extent that it providedthe services of Elliot to Turner, so Turner should be construedto be Elliot’s temporary employer. Moreover, Colorado’sworkers’ compensation law, which was designedto ensure that employers always paid for worker injuries“grants an injured employee compensation from the employerwithout regard to negligence and, in return, theresponsible employer is granted immunity from commonlaw negligence liability.”B&C Steel claimed that it, too, was not responsible,because according to the law a company is not responsiblefor negligence when an injury is not “reasonably foreseeable”to the company. B&C Steel contended that a reasonableperson could not have anticipated that placing thecrane near to the retaining wall and subsequently attemptingto remove the nylon strap holding up the bridge mightend by prompting someone to get on the bridge in an attemptto save it from falling into the river. On the otherhand, B&C Steel claimed, since “Elliot chose to removehimself from a secure and safe position and placed himselfin one that he understood was potentially unsafe,” Elliotwas himself responsible for his injuries.Elliot claimed that he was not really Turner Construction’semployee, since he was working for MabeyBridge. He also argued that B&C Steel had showna pattern of negligence from the time that the bridgewas received until the time that it was installed. B&CSteel and its employees, he said, were unprepared forthe project and negligently failed to adequately planfor it, as shown by the sequence of events leading upto his injury. B&C Steel, therefore, did not exercise thedegree of care that a reasonably careful person shouldhave exercised in similar circumstances and so was liableto him for his injuries. He himself was not responsible,Elliot said, because a good, devoted employee would tryhis best to ensure that the bridge installation did notend in failure, and he would have been perfectly safe ifthe standard OSHA all-stop signal had been followedby B&C Steel employees, as he had a right to expect itto be.Questions1. In your judgment, and from an ethical point of view,should Turner Construction and/or B&C Steel payfor all or part of the $2,428,000 (if part, indicate whichpart)? Explain your view.2. In your judgement, and from an ethical point of view,should Elliot be held wholly or partially responsiblefor his injuries and left to shoulder all or part of the$2,428,000 cost of his injuries (if part, indicate whichpart)? Explain.3. In your judgement, is the Colorado worker’s compensationlaw to which Turner Construction appealed fair? Explain your view.Purchase the answer to view it
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