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Laborer claimed fall from ladder caused permanent injury

Amount:

$158,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Texas

Venue:

Tarrant County

Court:

Tarrant County District Court, 342nd

Injury Type(s):

other-plate; other-pins/rods/screws; other-hardware implanted; wrist-fracture, wrist; surgeries/treatment-open reduction; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation

Case Type:

Construction - Accidents; Workplace - Workplace Safety; Construction - Scaffolds and Ladders; Slips, Trips & Falls - Fall from Height; Worker/Workplace Negligence - Negligent Training, Negligent Maintenance

Case Name:

Jose Octavio Castro-Sanchez v. Agustin Velasquez d/b/a Velasquez Painting Co. and Tor Eugene Adoue, Jr. a/k/a Victor Eugene Adoue Jr. Individually and d/b/a Tor Adoue Construction, Inc. and Tor Adoue Construction Inc., No. 342-276142-14

Date:

May 3, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Jose Octavio Castro-Sanchez (Male, 32 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Ryan Sorrells; Law Office of Domingo Garcia, P.C.; Dallas, TX, for Jose Octavio Castro-Sanchez

Defendant(s):

Agustin Velasquez, 

Tor Eugene Adoue Jr., 

Tor Adoue Construction Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

None reported; ; for Tor Eugene Adoue Jr., Tor Adoue Construction Inc. ■ Abel Leal; Johnson Stephens & Leal, PLLC; Dallas, TX, for Agustin Velasquez

Facts:

On Jan. 3, 2013, plaintiff Jose Octavio Castro-Sanchez, 32, a laborer, fell from a ladder on a scaffold on a worksite in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma City Drive Time building. Castro-Sanchez claimed that he injured his left wrist. Velasquez Painting Co. was the subcontractor and Tor Adoue Construction Inc. was the contractor Castro-Sanchez sued Agustin Velasquez , operating as Velasquez Painting Co., and Tor Eugene Adoue Jr., also known as Victor Eugene Adoue Jr., individually and operating as Tor Adoue Construction Inc. He claimed that Velasquez hired him to work on the job site and told him to place a ladder on the scaffold to complete a stucco repair on the outside of the Oklahoma Drive Time building, and that Velasquez would hold the rig. Castro-Sanchez claimed that Velasquez had never trained him prior to the incident, and he received no safety equipment. He claimed he had worked for Velasquez for four years prior to the accident. Castro-Sanchez claimed that Adoue Construction owed a duty to subcontractors, including himself, to provide a safe workplace and to exercise ordinary care. He claimed that Adoue Construction breached this duty, resulting in injury to him. He also alleged Adoue Construction, as the project's contractor, was negligent in supervising the control of the unstable scaffold as the subcontractors, including Castro-Sanchez, carried out their daily duties. He also claimed both defendants failed to maintain the work premises in a reasonably safe condition. Prior to trial, Adoue Construction settled with the plaintiff for $140,000 and was dismissed from the case. Velasquez argued that Castro-Sanchez was an independent contractor, having rented a hotel room for himself and three other independent contractors for the Oklahoma City Drive Time renovation project. Velasquez argued that he told Castro-Sanchez not to put the ladder on the rolling scaffold. Velasquez also claimed that he provided Castro-Sanchez with required fall protection, and a 20-foot ladder, but Castro-Sanchez refused to use the ladder or harness, and was trying to perform the work the fastest way possible.

Injury:

Castro-Sanchez was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room after the accident. He sustained a fracture of the left wrist on his non-dominant hand, and underwent open reduction and internal fixation with a plate and screws implanted. Castro-Sanchez claimed residual pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. He also claimed that he was unable to work as a laborer. He claimed that he will require future medical care. He sought to recover damages for past and future medical expenses; past and future pain and suffering; past and future loss of earnings; past and future physical impairment; and future disfigurement. Castro-Sanchez claimed that he was out of work for eight months as a result of the accident. He claimed that he had been working between 30 to 60 hours per week, earning from $7 to $11 an hour. The defense argued that hospital records indicated that Castro-Sanchez told numerous doctors and nurses that he fell from a residential home while taking down Christmas lights. The defense also argued that there was no evidence to support the loss-of-earnings claim. The defense argued that Castro-Sanchez failed to introduce into evidence any federal income tax documentation to prove his claimed loss of earnings

Result:

The jury found Velasquez Painting negligent, and awarded Castro-Sanchez $158,000.

Jose Octavio Castro-Sanchez: $55,000 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $20,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $5,000 Personal Injury: Past Physical Impairment; $10,000 Personal Injury: Future Physical Impairment; $44,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $12,500 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $3,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $7,500 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering; $1,000 Personal Injury: Future Disfigurement

Trial Information:

Judge:

J. Wade Birdwell

Trial Length:

3  days

Trial Deliberations:

1  hours

Post Trial:

Velasquez filed a motion and brief in support for the application of a settlement credit for a dollar-for-dollar credit of the compromise and settlement agreement and release between Castro-Sanchez and Adoue. Velasquez Painting also filed a motion of remittitur for the jury's finding on past loss of earning capacity in the amount of $44,000, and $12,500 for future loss of earning capacity in damages to Castro-Sanchez.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel for Velasquez Painting.