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ARTICLE ID 188416

$________ – UNSAFE WORKPLACE – FALL FROM MASS-CLIMBING WORK PLATFORM – MULTIPLE FRACTURES – INTERNAL INJURIES – TOTAL DISABILITY FROM EMPLOYMENT CLAIMED.

Philadelphia County, PA

This action arose when the plaintiff fell some 50 feet from a climbing work platform (a mechanical scaffold system which moves up and down) while he was working at the Lehigh County Courthouse. The defendants included the company contracted to install panels on the outside of the courthouse, the construction manager, the owner of the work platform and the American distributor of the equipment. The plaintiff asserted strict liability claims as well as negligence. The defendants each denied responsibility for the plaintiff’s fall and maintained that the plaintiff was a fault for failing to use fall protection equipment which was available to him at the time.

The plaintiff was a carpenter who was working for a subcontractor on a project to expand and renovate the Lehigh County Courthouse. On January 14, ________, while he was working on the mast-climbing work platform at issue, the plaintiff fell some 50 feet to the ground. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to ensure a safe workplace and failed to enforce safety regulations at the site. The plaintiff alleged that workers were not properly trained to prevent falls and that there was no lifeline available on the work platform to tie off safety lines.

The plaintiff also contended that the mast-climbing work platform was defectively designed in that it included protective guardrails on three sides, but the forth side (closet to the building) was left open. The open side of the platform was designed so that a protective barrier could be erected when the machine stopped. However, while the lift was moving, one side was left open, according to the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff contended that he had no memory of exactly how he fell from the platform.

The plaintiff, age 46 at the time, was rendered unconscious as a result of the fall and remained in a coma for approximately 12 days. He was diagnosed with a skull fracture and brain injury characterized by continuing cognitive deficits. In addition, the plaintiff suffered fractures to his ribs, pelvis, ankle and spine. The plaintiff underwent a right wrist fusion with carpal tunnel release and excision mass. His doctors testified that the plaintiff also sustained internal and neurological injuries which have left him with bowel incontinence, impotency, shaking and severe headaches.

The plaintiff contended that he is unable to stand for any period of time, has difficulty walking and is in chronic pain. The plaintiff’s experts opined that the plaintiff is totally and permanently disabled from employment. The plaintiff’s economist estimated the plaintiff’s total economic damages to be $________.

The defendants argued that the plaintiff was an experienced carpenter who was familiar with the use of fall-protection equipment. The defense maintained that fall-protection was available on the mast-climbing work platform, but the plaintiff chose not to use the available equipment. The defense also contended that the plaintiff was capable of returning to work in a sedentary capacity.The case was settled prior to trial for a total of $________. The defendant company contracted to install panels on the outside of the courthouse settled for $________. The defendant construction manager agreed to contribute $________. The defendant owner of the work platform agreed to pay $________ and the American distributor of the equipment settled for $________.

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