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ARTICLE ID 157693

$________ - DEFENDANT ROOFING COMPANY NEGLIGENTLY SECURES TARP WITH UPSIDE DOWN WHEELBARROW - GUST OF WIND CAUSES WHEELBARROW TO FALL AND STRIKE PLAINTIFF PEDESTRIAN ON HEAD AND NECK - CERVICAL CORD SYNDROME - FUSION SURGERY - LOSS OF FINE MOTOR SKILLS.

Union County, NJ

The plaintiff contended that the defendant roofing company, who was in the course of performing work on the roof of the one-story building, negligently secured a tarpaulin, used to protect roofing materials from the elements when the workers were not present, with an upside down wheelbarrow. The plaintiff maintained that a gust of wind resulted in the 30 to 40 pound wheelbarrow falling. The plaintiff suffered trauma to the spinal cord and cervical cord syndrome that caused instability in the cord and the need for fusion surgery. The plaintiff contended that he will permanently suffer pain and weakness and a neurological deficit which has deprived the plaintiff of much of the fine motor skills in his hands and has resulted in some atrophy of the hands. The plaintiff is the son of former NBA player Rod Strickland.

The defendant used the wheelbarrow in order to secure a tarp that was securing building material. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant should have secured the tarp with a bungee cord or similar object rather than using a wheelbarrow. The defendant maintained that securing the tarp with a wheelbarrow was proper and contended that it was unforeseeable that the wind be sufficiently strong to cause wheelbarrow to lift up and topple. The plaintiff countered that if the tarp had been properly secured, such as tied down with a bungee cord or other object, rather than using a potentially dangerous wheelbarrow, the incident would not have occurred.

The plaintiff also maintained that the defendant was not present on the job site for several days, and contended that leaving the work site in such a precarious condition was clearly negligent. The plaintiff would have also argued that the incident would not have occurred but for the negligence of the defendant and that the jury should be instructed regarding Res Ipsa Loquitor. The evidence disclosed that another individual saw the wheelbarrow fall and yelled to the plaintiff to "watch out." The plaintiff slightly moved his head and was struck on the neck, shoulder and head, rather than flush on the head.

The plaintiff’s neurosurgeon related that the trauma caused cervical cord syndrome in which there was initially a good chance of paralysis. The physician related, however, that the cervical fusion provided stability and that the plaintiff is no longer at significant risk of paralysis. The physician maintained, however, that the plaintiff was left with significant neurological deficits that primarily impact his hands and his ability to perform fine motor functions. The plaintiff, who was retired, had greatly enjoyed drawing and painting for a hobby. The plaintiff maintained that the loss of enjoyment of life was extensive.

The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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