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ARTICLE ID 27884

$________ - ALLEGED NEGLIGENT PLACEMENT OF PAYTELEPHONE - FAILURE TO INSTALL PROTECTIVE GUARDS - PLAINTIFF STRUCK BY VEHICLE WHILE USING TELEPHONE - TRAUMATIC BELOW-THE- KNEE AMPUTATION OF LEFT LEG - RIGHT LEG FRACTURE REQUIRING SURGERY - NERVE DAMAGE TO LEFT HIP - PARTIAL LOSS OF VISION.

Orange County

The plaintiff, a 37-year-old roofer at the time, was talking on a pay telephone in Orlando when two vehicles collided and one of the vehicles left the road surface and struck him. The defendants included the driver of the motor vehicle which allegedly caused the initial collision (Wilfredo Collado) and BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., which installed the pedestal-type pay telephone. The driver and owner of the second vehicle involved in the accident settled with the plaintiff prior to trial. The defendant BellSouth argued that the accident was not foreseeable and it violated no duty owned to the plaintiff. BellSouth contended that the accident was caused by the negligence of the drivers involved and the Fabre defendants, the owner of a Dunkin’ Donuts who directed the location of the pay telephone and The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) which reconstructed the intersection and expanded the road closer to the telephone. The co-defendant Collado did not appear at trial.

On February 25, ________, the plaintiff was using an outside, pedestal pay phone located at the intersection of Silver Star Road and Pine Hills Road in Orlando, adjacent to a Dunkin’ Donuts driveway. Evidence showed that the (settling) defendant driver, Hernandez, was driving eastbound in the right lane of Silver Star Road while the defendant, Collado, was driving in the center lane. Collado allegedly attempted a right turn into the Dunkin’ Donuts driveway from the center lane, striking the Hernandez vehicle and propelling it into the plaintiff.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant BellSouth negligently located the telephone in ________ in such a manner so as to require users to stand within two feet of the Dunkin’ Donuts driveway and within five feet of Sliver Star Road with their backs turned to traffic. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant BellSouth failed to erect barriers, protective guards or other means to protect users of the telephone from vehicular traffic. The telephone would could have been more safely located on the side of the Dunkin’ Donuts building, according to the plaintiff’s traffic/pedestrian safety expert.

The plaintiff suffered a traumatic amputation of the left leg below the knee on impact. He also sustained a fracture of the right leg for which open reduction, internal fixation and skin grafting was performed. The plaintiff’s medical experts testified that the plaintiff additionally sustained nerve damage to his left hip and a significant loss of vision in his left eye. The plaintiff complained of continuing headaches and blurred vision in his left eye, stemming from the accident.

The plaintiff contended that his accident-related injuries prevented him from returning to his former occupation as a roofer. The plaintiff was not employed at the time of trial and his vocational expert opined that he is permanently disabled from employment.

The defendant, BellSouth, argued that the owner of the property where the Dunkin’ Donuts was located refused to allow the pay phone to be placed on the side of the building. Evidence showed that the intersection was modified by DOT in ________ and the road was widened in the area by the telephone. The defendant contended that DOT extended the road closer to the telephone without notifying it to relocate the phone.

The defendant also contended that DOT had removed islands which previously directed traffic away from the curb lane and omitted traffic direction markings outlined in the approved road reconstruction project. The defense also argued that the plaintiff could be retrained for light duty employment.

The jury found the defendant BellSouth not negligent. It found the defendant Collado 75% negligent and the (settling) defendant Hernandez 25% negligent. The jury also found the Fabre defendants Dunkin’ Donuts and DOT not negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ which was comprised of $________ in past medical expenses and lost earnings; $________ in future medical expenses and lost earnings; $________ in past pain and suffering and $________ in future pain and suffering.

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