JURY VERDICT: Plaintiff struck by crane when tilt-up wall collapsed
The construction industry is a dangerous profession, with millions of people involved in worksite accidents every year. As such, this line of employee gets frequently litigated and often results in the injured’s favor in the form of high jury awards and confidential settlements. One such example of this is the case of Stamper v. Lawrence Drive Partners.
On June 6, 1985, a 43-year-old rigger foreman for a crane company suffered a serious blow to his lower body in a crane boom collapse that occurred when a tilt-up concrete panel weighing more than 50 tons fell. The damages to one of his legs were so severe that doctors had to perform a knee amputation.
While the foreman did receive workers compensation benefits to cover his direct losses, he and his wife hired Lawrence R. Booth and Rick Hicks of the Booth & Koskoff law firm to represent him in a worker negligence lawsuit and her in a loss of consortium lawsuit against the subcontractor who built the failed concrete footings and tilt-up panels, the general contractor, and the owner of premises. for her loss of spousal services.
The plaintiffs argued that the defendant concrete subcontractor installed defective footings and bracing, and those defects directly attributed to the injurious collapse. They also argued that the general contractor failed to provide a safe place to work and as such he and the owner were liable for the accident under the Special Risk Doctrine.
The case went to trial with the defendants contending that the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s employer, Crane Company, were solely responsible for the accident. They argued that it was the plaintiff’s crane that pulled or otherwise knocked over the panel resulting in the collapse of the crane boom and the plaintiff’s injuries.
Both sides retained an economist and civil engineer expert to testify on their behalf. The jury ultimately ruled 12-0 in the plaintiff’s favor and against any claims of plaintiff employee or employer negligence. They awarded the injured foreman $3,054,328 and his wife $400,000. This was exact amount requested by the plaintiffs in their argument.