ELKHART — An Elkhart metal company denies responsibility in response to a worker’s claim that he lost four fingers to a machine.

A worker at Kampco Steel Products Inc. says in a lawsuit that four fingers on his right hand were amputated by a Cincinnati press, which was the result of company negligence. John Parker, of South Bend, says the company failed to keep the equipment in good working order and free from defect due to lack of maintenance and other routine care.

He says the injury happened on Sept. 24, 2018, and that he lost the use of his right hand, sustained medical expenses and suffered loss of earning ability as a result.

Parker indicates in his lawsuit that he was placed at the Kampco facility, located at 57533 C.R. 3 South, by an employment agency. 

He seeks a judgment against Kampco awarding him compensation for his injuries and other damages. He filed the lawsuit in Marshall County in September but it was transferred to Elkhart County Superior Court 2 in October.

In response, lawyers for Kampco acknowledge that the company owes certain duties to its employees under Indiana law but denies Parker’s allegation of negligence. They say the company had no prior notice or any opportunity to correct the alleged defects.

The answer to the lawsuit, filed on Nov. 22, says the company did not cause the injury but that Parker’s accident was the result of the risk he voluntarily assumed. It also claims his damages were caused in part or fully by the employment agency, LTI Services, and by “other parties and/or individuals whose identities have yet to be determined.”

Parker’s “alleged injuries may have been proximately caused by the superseding and/or intervening acts or omissions of other parties ... over whom (Kampco) had no right of control and for whose actions it is not liable,” the answer states.

It also challenges the court’s jurisdiction over Parker’s claim, saying the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act is his exclusive remedy and that the worker’s comp board has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.

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