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Michael F. Schmidt Prevails In Construction Accident Case

Steven Nickell and Hayley Nickell v Howard Structural Steel, Inc., et al, Wayne County Circuit Court, claim by Steven Nickell, an ironworker, for construction accident injuries sustained in a fall on a construction project. The injuries included an acetabular fracture, lower back injuries and an alleged closed head injury and neuropsychological problems. We represented Howard Structural Steel, the structural steel contractor who contracted with Nickell’s employer, American Erectors, to do the erection. We filed a motion for summary disposition arguing that the plaintiff’s claim against Howard for failing to provide guardrails on the job failed to state a claim because the subcontractor, American Erectors, had contracted to provide 100% fall protection, pursuant to Fultz v Union-Commerce Associates, 470 Mich 460 (2004), even if Howard had a contractual duty to deliver guardrails, this did not create a negligence claim, and further the American Erectors’ foreman testified that even if guardrails had been delivered he would not have installed them at the time of the accident. The case evaluation award against Howard was zero dollars and the case was dismissed.