Rockland man suing equipment manufacturer over scalding workplace injury

Posted Aug. 23, 2012, at 12:05 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a local man who claims he suffered serious burns due to a defective piece of equipment at his workplace.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Knox County Superior Court on behalf of Kevin Dougherty against Bufllovak LLC of Buffalo, N.Y., which manufactured the equipment.

The lawsuit claims that Dougherty suffered serious burns over 35 percent of his body while working at the FMC plant in Rockland, which produces carrageenan from seaweed.

According to the lawsuit, Dougherty was working near a vacuum dryer when it was being cleaned with boiling water and steam. The latch mechanism on the dryer was defective, according to the lawsuit, and would not open when employees pressed the button, which is located a safe distance from the dryer door, the suit states.

The cleaning procedure used at the plant involves opening the dryer door and letting the scalding water empty onto the factory floor and down drains, according to the suit.

But because the latch failed to work properly, workers had to get closer to the dryer to open it and when the water spilled out it struck Dougherty, according to the lawsuit.

Dougherty’s suit claims he incurred medical bills of $25,000 and was out of work for seven months. On his return he was unable to perform his duties because of his injuries and was let go because of the inability to perform the work, the suit claims.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages sought. He is represented by attorney John Markham of Boston, Mass.

Michael Bieger, the president of Bufllovak, said Thursday he was unaware of the lawsuit and that it has not been served on the company. He said he could not comment without seeing the suit.

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