A Defective Robot Causes the Death of a Michigan Woman at Workplace

A man blames five robotics, welding, and automotive companies for his wife’s death. He claims that the five companies did not design, build and test the robot thoroughly. Wanda Holbrook, a former employee at Venta Ionia LLC, a company that deals with stamping, molding and other related services for chrome-plated plastics, bumpers and trailer hitches, was found dead after a robot crashed her head. The robot is said to have been malfunctioning, and it crushed her while she was adjusting a machine, as narrated by her husband during a lawsuit.

She was working in either of section 140 or 150 when a robot from section 130 approached her and hit her hard and crushed her head.

Holbrook was then found by her colleagues who announced the death was an instant one due to head trauma. Her husband filed a lawsuit, blaming Prodomax Automation Canada, Flex-n-gate LLC, FANUC Corp; Nachi Robotic System Inc. and Lincoln Company for Wanda’s untimely death. FANUC America and Lincoln are blamed for making the robot while Flex-N-Gate and Prodomax are blamed for helping in installation and servicing of the robot. It was a fault for the robot to move from section 130 to section 140 where it attacked the employee. It also made a mistake of trying to load a hitch assembly since the fixture was already loaded. The complaint said that there must have been a system failure in the robot and the defects caused it to kill Wanda.

According to the lawsuit, the automation system in those working sections was not safe enough, and this must have contributed to the incident too. The safety doors made to prevent robots from moving around from one section to another were not competent enough as claimed by the deceased’s husband. The estate where she came from has sought compensation for the wrongful death and product liability. They are represented by Matthew Wikander and Smith Haughey Rice. However, Amanda Butler declined the lawsuit claims but offered his message of condolence to the family. He said that their company provides adequate safety and that the claims that the safety regulations were not effective were not accurate, but they had to review the lawsuit completely before making any comments. Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, and Nerch had not yet replied to the emails sent to them requesting their comments on the same.