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ARTICLE ID 43851

$________ The plaintiffs were dismantling a structural tower assembled for a concert when a rachet strap was removed and beam fell causing both plaintiffs to fall to the ground - Burst fracture of the T- 12/L-1 vertebral body - Incomplete paraplegia - Multiple fractures of right femur and right hip - Special Employment doctrine argument.

U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Los Angeles

In this construction negligence matter, the plaintiffs were employed to disassemble a structural tower that had been assembled for a concert. The plaintiffs alleged that the plaintiffs were told to remove a ratchet strap holding a beam by their supervisors. The removal of the strap ultimately caused the beam to roll and both plaintiffs fell to the ground sustaining serious injuries.

The plaintiff Kuykenall was a carpenter and the plaintiff Mahoney was a rigger. Both were hired to dismantle a structural tower on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl that had been assembled for a Aerosmith/Kid Rock concert. The towers were used during the concert to hold speakers. The riggers were preparing to dismantle a beam at the top of the structural tower. Their supervisor, employed by the defendant, requested the removal of a ratchet strap from a structural member so that the strap could be placed behind a rope that was being used to lower a metal beam. There was a considerable amount of discussion among the workers about this request, however, ultimately it was complied with.

After the strap was removed, the plaintiff Kuykendall and his fellow riggers changed the way that they were lowering the beam. The plaintiff Kuykenhall unclipped his lanyard from the tower. As he started to change his position, the structural beam from which the strap had been removed started to roll. The plaintiff Kuykenhall, who was standing on this beam, fell. The plaintiff Mahoney who was employed as a carpenter several feet below and had also unclipped his lanyard during this time, in order to reposition, was hit by the beam and fell to the ground.

The plaintiff Kuykenall suffered a burst fracture of his spine at T-12/L1 which rendered him an incomplete paraplegic with loss of the movement of his left leg except for his big toe. The plaintiff Mahoney sustained multiple fractures including fractures to his right femur and right hip. The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant staging and scaffolding company for negligence.

The defendant attempted to obtain summary judgment on the basis of the special employment doctrine. This application was denied by the court. The defendant then attempted to demonstrate that the plaintiff Kuykendall had extremely high amounts of methamphetamine in his system at the time he was admitted to the hospital. The defendant alleged that the plaintiff was negligent and responsible for his own injuries and the injuries of the co- plaintiff due to his own negligence.

The parties agreed to settle the matter for the combined settlement of $________. The terms of the settlement are not available.

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