$1,850,000 :: Roche v. City of L.A.

SETTLEMENT : Fall during construction. Case settled during 3rd week of trial.

In 1975, Tom Roche, 40, of Lakewood was working as a construction worker on a San Pedro sewage plant when a devastating accident left him a paraplegic. The plant was under construction and Roche working on a higher level area of the project that lacked proper guard rails. An accident sent Roche over the edge, causing him to fall 37 feet.

The over three story fall did not kill Roche, but it did leave him with significant damages to his lower spine. As a result of his permanent injuries, Roche became a paraplegic and permanently disabled. He hired Lawrence Booth of Booth & Koskoff to represent help him recover compensation for his injuries.

Booth and Roche filed a negligence lawsuit against the contracting firm of Pascal and Ludwig and the city of Los Angeles. The plaintiff team argued that the accident was a direct result of the contracting company’s failure to install safety guard rails and the city’s failure to ensure they did so.

The lawsuit went to trial in 1979 but was settled three weeks after jury selection. Booth secured $1.85 million settlement for his client. That monetary award included $1.2 million from Pascal and Ludwig, $500,000 from the city of Los Angeles, and $150,000 from Worker’s Compensation. This amount represented the then-largest settlement ever awarded within the jurisdiction of the Long Beach Superior Court.

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