The widow of a longshoreman crushed by a load is suing the crane manufacturer and port owner.

William Edward Holst Jr. was killed at the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, USA on 5 July 2004. He was crushed by a container that was lowered onto the place where he was working. His widow, Jean Holst, filed a suit on 18 February 2005 in Charleston against KCI Konecranes International, which manufactured the crane, and South Carolina State Port Authority. Her lawyers are seeking a trial by jury.

In her suit, Jean Holst alleges that it was ‘the crane that caused the death’. Among her claims against Konecranes are that it: failed to manufacture the crane properly; failed to exercise reasonable care in the design and testing of the crane; failed to design the crane to prevent it lowering containers on top of people or having a proximity alarm; failing to install enough video cameras to enable the operator to see people in the path of the load; failing to warn purchasers and operators of blind spots created by the design; and manufacturing and selling ‘a product that was defective and unreasonably dangerous’.

Claims against the port authority centre on its alleged failure to adopt and implement adequate safety, training and supervision procedures.

Jean Holst is represented by the law firm Motley Rice, which has had well publicised success against the tobacco industry.