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					NEW JERSEY LAWYER
Volume 11, Number 24                            The Weekly Newspaper                                  June 17, 2002 $5



         $16 million settlement
     AMillion Settlement Reaches New Personal Injury Level
     $16
By Robert G. Seidenstein                                        County Superior Court         dreds of thousands” of the


A
         veteran Cherry                                         Judge       Ronald       E.   portable air tanks in use
         Hill attorney has                                      Bookbinder.                   throughout the country
         secured what is                                            Baldante said the 41/2-   and they are still being
believed to be one of the                                       year-old suit in part in-     sold by major retailers.
largest personal injury set-                                    volved three interlocutory        He said Grovatt’s ex-
tlements in the state’s his-                                    appeals and what he char-     penses total about $15,000
tory — $16 million.                                             acterized as a “tractor-      monthly. He can move his
    And that’s the current                                      trailer load of approxi-      arms and legs, “but they
value of the settlement.                                        mately 100,000 records,”      don’t serve him well,”
Ultimately the severely in-                                     along with “elaborate”        Baldante said. Grovatt’s
jured client of John W.                                         analysis by forensic          ability to speak also is se-
Baldante will receive           JOHN W. BALDANTE                experts.                      verely limited.
some $36 million over the       Products of Springfield,            That, he said, under-         Baldante said his
next 30 years, including        Mo., exploded while he          scored allegations that the   client, who lives at home,
$8 million upfront.             was filling it with com-        tank was “defective and       will receive about $8 mil-
    “This is the largest set-   pressed air.                    substandard in virtually      lion immediately and the
tlement I’ve ever person-            According             to   every aspect, from design     remainder will be taken as
ally been involved in,”         Baldante, a partner at          to manufacture, from          a structured settlement
Baldante said.                  Levy Angstreich Finney          welds to safety features,     paying $28 million over
    “These kinds of num-        Baldante Rubenstein &           from labels to warnings.”     30 years.
bers are relatively unheard     Coren, portable air tanks           Baldante said Midwest         Midwest filed for
of in a single personal in-     are used, among other pur-      Products was the “target”     bankruptcy protection ear-
jury case.”                     poses, to fill bicycle tires,   defendant, although others    lier this year, he said,
    The             injured     basketballs and tractor         were named.                   adding the settlement will
Burlington County man,          tires. Grovatt was hurt             He said Midwest’s air     be paid by the company’s
Roy        Grovatt        of    while working at his fam-       tank was “terribly danger-    insurance carrier.
Tabernacle, became a            ily farm.                       ous” and failed to meet           The lawyer for
brain-damaged spastic                Baldante said his pre-     safety standards recom-       Midwest, Gerard H.
quadriplegic after part of      vious highest settlement        mended by the American        Hanson of Princeton, de-
his skull was blown away.       was $12 million about           Society of Mechanical         clined comment.
    It happened in May          four years ago.                 Engineers.                    Reporter       Robert     G.
1997 when a 10-gallon                The case, Grovatt v.           According to the 20-      Seidenstein can be reached at
                                                                                              rseidenstein@njlnews.com.
portable air tank manufac-      Midwest Products, Inc., et      year personal injury prac-
tured      by     Midwest       al, was before Burlington       titioner, there are “hun-     Reprint for Educational Use Only

				
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