AN INJURED FORMER WALGREENS MANAGERTOLD, 'NOT OUR PROBLEM'
PACE, FLORIDA "" Almost two-years after a work-related injury, a former Walgreen's manager is told by the company responsible that his problems are 'not our problem'.
On October 16, 2009, Shawn Rainbolt, a Pace resident and a Walgreen's assistant manager fell seven feet when the ladder step he was on broke beneath him. Rainbolt sustained a head laceration, neck, back, leg injuries and lost consciousness. After a year of physical therapy, it was determined by a local physician that he will suffer a permanent hearing impairment, including severe tinnitus and a growing irritability to sound.
Investigation uncovered that the ladder, built by Werner Company, was at fault for Rainbolt's accident. An expert hired by Rainbolt's attorney, Chris Vlachos, examined the ladder and determined it was manufactured by Werner. Ten-foot aluminum ladders, such as the model (Werner Type 1 Model #PT6008) Rainbolt fell from, requires proper assembly, testing and inspection before Werner markets it and sells it to companies such Walgreen's. Providing safe and tested equipment is tantamount to Werner's reputation as a world-leader in ladder equipment and every worker, who has a family to support, depends on that guarantee every time they step on their ladders.
The ladder accident was only the start of Rainbolt's problems. Due to his injuries he could no longer perform his job duties and was forced to leave Walgreen's on January 2011 and has been unemployed ever since. Since losing his job, Rainbolt had his vehicle repossessed, skirted eviction, and labor through a jobless market. When, he and his wife had no money to eat, Rainbolt was forced to take out lines-of-credit he cannot afford to payback then or now.
With the help of Vlachos, Werner was speedily contacted where they were called on to take responsibility for the accident and pay for Rainbolt's permanent hearing impairment and lost income. According to an attorney for Walgreen's, certain guarantees were made by Werner to resolve the matter fairly but, to date, Werner has refused to accept their liability.
Collen Taylor, a Werner representative, sent a blanket letter August 25th attempting to disregard her company's liability. In part, her letter stated that Werner declared chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2006. Taylor claims that the ladder Rainbolt fell from was manufactured by the "Old Werner Company" and not the current one that has been a legal entity since May 2007. However, it was "New Werner", as they are commonly referred to, that purchased essentially all subsidiaries, product patents and equipment from "Old Werner". This included any contracts to service the same companies and customers as before, such as Walgreen's or Lowe's, to provide safe ladders. "New Werner", according to their website, still claims to be the Werner Company originally founded by Richard D. Werner in 1922.
Rainbolt recounts his patience with Werner to do the right thing. "It wasn't Walgreen's fault the ladder broke beneath me. It wasn't my fault either. I was just doing my job that day. It could've been someone else," Rainbolt said, "I fell because Werner failed to inspect it "" just look at it once before leaving the assembly line. Had they done that, I would have never fell. Werner made a defective ladder and profited from selling that ladder to Walgreen's. How can a company get away with selling an inferior product and not be held liable? When you think about it, if Werner gets away with this they would've made money from my injury."
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References:Shawn Rainbolt, Injured Worker: (850) 791-8246Chris Vlachos, Rainbolt's Attorney: (850) 469-1313Kim McCall, Walgreen's Attorney: (904) 398-0900Colleen Taylor, Werner Co: (724) 588-8600
Product or Service Mentioned: Werner Ladder Ladder.
Monetary Loss: $125.