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Contractor’s dismissal from Crisp suit upheld

Sat., Nov. 17, 2007

The Washington Court of Appeals has upheld a trial court judge’s dismissal of a general contractor in a 2004 lawsuit that sought to recover more than $8.8 million in the death of a University of Idaho maintenance worker.

Joel P. Crisp, of Colfax, was killed in April 2000 when he was sucked into a giant ventilation fan that helped regulate heating and air conditioning on the campus.

His widow, Lynn Crisp, sued, but a Spokane County Superior Court jury refused to blame the fan manufacturer and two other companies for Crisp’s death in a December 2004 verdict.

In an opinion released this week, the Washington Court of Appeals Division III said Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. O’Connor was correct when she dismissed Swank Enterprises, a Montana corporation, from the case in a pretrial order.

Attorneys for Lynn Crisp had appealed O’Connor’s dismissal of Swank, the general contractor for the project where the fan was installed.

The case was tried under a combination of Idaho and Washington law. Idaho law allows immunity for contractors performing public works contracts, the appeals court said.


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