NEW JERSEY LAWYER
Volume 11, Number 24 The Weekly Newspaper June 17, 2002 $5
$16 million settlement
AMillion Settlement Reaches New Personal Injury Level
By Robert G. Seidenstein County Superior Court dreds of thousands” of the
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
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