Wegman Hessler litigation team wins $2 million verdict in a worker injury case

How one Cleveland law firm helps its corporate clients prevent and protect against similar lawsuits

Cleveland – Wegman Hessler attorneys Christopher A. Holecek and Jessica L. MacKeigan recently won a challenging jury trial in Madison County, Ohio, on behalf of an injured worker, securing a verdict of nearly $2 million dollars for their client.

We are not afraid of taking a matter to trial, and when we do, we have a strong record of wins.

Nathan E. Hessler, managing partner

The client was badly hurt when his clothes became trapped and tangled in the power take-off shaft on a sand-spreader machine. The guard for the machine had been removed years earlier. In Ohio, employers who comply with the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Act usually cannot be sued for workplace injuries. But there is an exception to this rule, specifically where an employer deliberately removes a safety guard on a piece of equipment and a worker is injured as a result. When this happens, a jury can determine if the guard had been deliberately removed by the employer with intent to injure and, if so, can award money damages to the injured worker separate and apart from any Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Invoking this rare exception to the Workers’ Compensation law, the firm sued the employer on the grounds that the company had deliberately removed the guard with intent to injure. The jury agreed. Wegman Hessler attorneys Holecek and MacKeigan prevailed at trial on behalf of the injured employee.

Helping business leaders prevent similar outcomes

“We advise our business clients, especially our manufacturing clients, that safety must always be a top priority,” explains Christopher Holecek, partner and lead attorney on the case. “Employers must perform regular equipment safety inspections. As this case shows, you are better off putting the equipment out of service until the safety guards are repaired or re-installed.

“Also, employers need to know that insurance typically does not cover this sort of claim. If you get sued for something like this, it could put your company out of business.”

Employers need to know that insurance typically does not cover this sort of claim. If you get sued for something like this, it could put your company out of business.

Christopher A. Holececk, partner, litigation

The level of expertise required to win such cases for individuals is especially effective when defending against them. Wegman Hessler’s business clients benefit from insight gleaned from such wins. This unique experience positively impacts how the firm counsels clients to prevent such workplace injuries. It also helps attorneys to strategize and defend cases brought against its corporate clients when accidents happen.

“Our litigation team continues to perform at the highest level on behalf of our clients,” explains Nathan Hessler, Managing Partner of Wegman Hessler. “We are not afraid of taking a matter to trial, and when we do, we have a strong record of wins – this case included.” 


Wegman Hessler specializes in business law for business leaders, applying legal discipline to solve business problems to help business owners run smarter. For more than 50 years, this Cleveland business law firm provides full service strategic legal counsel for closely held businesses. Practice areas include: business law; business litigation; estate planning and wealth protection; intellectual property; divorce and family law for business owners; product recall counsel; employee matters; commercial real estate; business acquisition, and more. Learn more at www.wegmanlaw.com.

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