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Homeowner argued plaintiff at fault for his own fall off ladder

Type:

Verdict-Defendant

State:

Florida

Venue:

Palm Beach County

Court:

Palm Beach Circuit Court

Injury Type(s):

arm-fracture, humerus;
hip-fracture, hip;
elbow-fracture, elbow;
other-physical therapy; other-pins/rods/screws; other-hardware implanted; other-decreased range of motion; surgeries/treatment-open reduction; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation

Case Type:

Slips, Trips & Falls – Fall from Height

Case Name:

Jean Colimon v. Jean R. Pierre,
No. 50-2016-CA-014309-XXXX-MB

Date:

February 15, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Jean Colimon (Male, 69 )

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Jonathan Cox;
Keller, Keller & Caracuzzo, P.A.;
West Palm Beach,
FL,
for
Jean Colimon ■ W. Ellis Petit;
Keller, Keller & Caracuzzo, P.A.;
West Palm Beach,
FL,
for
Jean Colimon

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Steven Saslow; D.O.; Orthopedics; North Palm Beach,
FL called by:
Jonathan Cox, W. Ellis Petit ■ Christopher Zimmerman; Inspection; Wellington,
FL called by:
Jonathan Cox, W. Ellis Petit

Defendant(s):

Jean R. Pierre

Defense Attorney(s):

Ramon E. Javier;
Ramon E. Javier & Associates;
Miami,
FL,
for
Jean R. Pierre

Defendant Expert(s):

Kevin Marajh;
Engineering;
West Palm Beach,
FL called by:
Ramon E. Javier

Insurer(s):

Conifer Insurance Co.

Facts:

On Oct. 6, 2016, plaintiff Jean Colimon, 69, a retiree, was helping his pastor install shutters on windows on the pastor’s home, in West Palm Beach, in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. Colimon was on a ladder, about 10 feet above the ground, while the pastor, Jean Pierre, held the ladder at the bottom. Colimon fell and injured his left elbow and his hip. Colimon sued Pierre, alleging he did not properly hold the ladder in place. An expert in building inspections for Colimon testified that Pierre put the ladder up at an incorrect angle, making it unstable. Pierre argued that he had secured the ladder as best as he could and had followed Colimon’s instructions. Colimon, unlike Pierre, had years of experience working with ladders, Pierre contended, and he trusted Colimon’s instructions. Colimon was comparatively negligent, Pierre claimed, and should have been more careful on the ladder. An expert engineer for the defense said it was impossible to tell at what angle the ladder had been placed, but in order to have it totally secured, the person at the bottom would have had to exert more force on it than the person at the top.

Injury:

Colimon was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fracture to his left, non-dominant arm at the distal humerus, which is the upper arm bone at the elbow. He also was diagnosed with a minor hip fracture. Colimon had open reduction and internal fixation surgery for the fractured humerus, with screws placed. Twelve weeks later, he returned to have the screws taken out. He did inpatient rehabilitation for the elbow and hip fractures for about a month but did not have surgery on his hip. Colimon also went to physical therapy a couple of times a week for eight to 12 weeks after he was discharged. Colimon said he has ongoing pain in his elbow and a limited range of motion. He claimed that it hinders some of his daily activities, including getting dressed and undressed. He sought $550,000 for past and future pain and suffering and past and future medical costs. The defense counsel did not dispute damages.

Result:

The jury rendered a defense verdict, finding that Pierre had not been negligent.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Cymonie Rowe

Trial Length:

4
 days

Trial Deliberations:

2
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.