Family of Man who Fell to His Death on his Job Receives $8.8 Million Award

Posted by Josh Valentine | Aug 31, 2017

The wife of a former Boeing employee who fell to his death recently received a massive payout of $8.8 million after a jury found the airplane manufacturing company legally responsible for his death.

David Priester Jr. worked for the company for a few years before his tragic fall in March 2013. The lawsuit, filed on his behalf by widow Lisa Priester, listed SAR Automation as a defendant, alleging that its design led to the death of her husband. Lisa and her legal team detailed how the sliders that Priester had been working on malfunctioned due to SAR Automation's reformed computer system under the nose of Boeing. The company's modification to the computer system had created a gap in the mobile platform, which was a hazard for employees during the airplane manufacturing process. While David Priester Jr. was working, he fell 18 feet from the mobile platform that he was standing on.

After being rushed to the hospital, medical professionals declared that he had sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and that he didn't have a strong likelihood of surviving it. Eleven days after the fall, he passed away. He was only 38 years old.

The lawsuit also argued that during SAR Automation's unauthorized installation, the company failed to install software that could warn employees of danger, such as horns, emergency lighting, and other safety features. Linda Priester claims that had these mechanisms been installed, they could have saved her husband's life. As such, SAR Automation acted negligently by not providing these features.

“It's been over four years since David's tragic death,” Linda Priester said in a statement. “This verdict sends a message to employers that men and women deserve to work in a safe environment. My hope is that this tragedy will result in better worker protection at Boeing and other manufacturers in South Carolina. On behalf of David's family, I am so grateful that the jury vindicated David.”

Experienced North Carolina Personal Injury Defense Attorneys

Coping with the death of a family member or loved one is hard enough. Having to wrestle with the fact that this passing could have been prevented if another party would have fulfilled its duty undoubtedly makes coping in the aftermath of a death even harder. If you believe that the death of your loved one was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another individual, company or entity, you have the constitutional right to seek a legal remedy. Although monetary compensation may not bring your family member back, it can provide some consolation and closure for you and other loved ones who are grieving. Let us handle the legal obligations for you. Contact Caulder & Valentine today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar