Wrongfull Death Lawsuit for Factory Worker Death Caused by Robot

Rogue factory robot blamed for death of human colleague

A rogue robot has been blamed for the death of a factory worker in Michigan

By Mark Molloy 14 MARCH 2017 • 4:27PM

A rogue robot has been blamed for the death of a woman killed in an accident at an auto-parts factory in Michigan.

Wanda Holbrook, who worked as a maintenance technician at the Ventra Ionia Mains plant for 12 years, was “trapped by robotic machinery and pronounced dead at the scene” in July 2015.

The 57-year-old’s widower, William Holbrook, has filed a wrongful death complaint seeking damages from five robotics companies responsible for manufacturing, installing and testing the robotics: Lincoln Electric, Flex-N-Gate, Prodomax, FANUC and Nachi.

“Wanda was working in either section 140 or 150 within the ‘100’ cell, when a robot from section 130 took Wanda by surprise, entering the section she was working,” the lawsuit alleges.

She “suffered tremendous fright, shock and conscious pain and suffering” when she was crushed to death, the suit claims. 

“The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly.

“A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death.”

Lincoln Electric, FANUC and Nachi have been named in two additional claims of product liability and breach of implied warranty, Quartz notes.

In her role, Ms Holbrook performed maintenance duties on robots which required occasional inspection.

Holbrook v Prodomax Automation Ltd, et al, is currently awaiting trial.


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