Attorney Gerald Connor, an associate in our Scranton, Pennsylvania, office, received a defense verdict in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, after a 2-day jury trial.
The Plaintiff (the foreman for a contractor doing a large construction project on our client’s farm) received a severe crush injury to his left hand, when his hand was trapped and crushed between a concrete pipe and the bucket of an excavator being operated by our employee. The Plaintiff’s ring finger was amputated, and he underwent five surgeries to save his middle finger, with limited success.
Plaintiff never returned to work, and produced a vocational expert live to testify to $600,000+ in past and future lost wages. An offer of $75,000 was rejected and no counter-demand presented.
Our defense centered around the Plaintiff’s role as the job foreman, and his exclusive control of the project and this particular task when he was hurt.
Our client’s employee was lowering a large concrete sewer pipe/manhole into the ground. The 1000-pound pipe was suspended by a chain tied to the bucket of a large track-hoe. Our employee was helping Plaintiff that day, and totally under Plaintiff’s direction and control. They had used this same procedure throughout the morning, with our employee taking his direction exclusively from Plaintiff, who was down in a hole directing our employee on exactly what to do, such as move it left/right, or drop it down, etc. On this particular section of pipe, our testimony established that the Plaintiff asked for this chain to be shortened for better control, although Plaintiff denied this. When he was hurt, the Plaintiff told our employee to “drop-it down,” which our employee did, but since the chain was shortened, the bucket was much closer to the pipe, and Plaintiff’s hand was severely crushed.
The Jury unanimously concluded the Plaintiff was 80% comparatively negligent, putting an end to a case that began in December 2001, with significant potential exposure for economic and non-economic damages, along with the possibility of substantial delay damages as well.