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Worker’s ankle run over by helicopter wheel during moving
Nueces County Court at Law No. 1
leg; leg-fracture (fracture, fibula), leg (fracture, fibula);
ankle; ankle-fracture (fracture, bimalleolar), ankle (fracture, bimalleolar);
ankle-fracture, distal fibula;
other-syndesmosis; other-physical therapy; other-comminuted fracture; surgeries/treatment-open reduction; surgeries/treatment-internal fixation
Motor Vehicle – Pedestrian; Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent Training
Larry Pruitt v. L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC and Sergio Garcia,
April 4, 2017
Larry Pruitt (Male, 33 Years)
Sheadyn R. Rogers;
Law Offices of Sheadyn R. Rogers;
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC
David Lee Crawford;
Sergio Garcia, L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC
On June 7, 2014, plaintiff Larry Pruitt, early 30s, an aircraft painter at Corpus Christi Army Depot, was one of five people assigned to help tow a helicopter from one hangar to another. He was acting as a “spotter” or “wing walker,” walking next to the helicopter as it was towed by a tractor. The tractor operator was Sergio Garcia, an employee of aerospace contractor L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC. A tire of the helicopter ran over Pruitt’s left ankle, fracturing it. Pruitt sued Garcia and L-3 for Garcia negligently failing to keep a proper lookout. He also sued L-3 for negligently failing to train Garcia properly and failing to prescribe the route from one hangar to the other. Pruitt alleged that Garcia suddenly shifted directions and ran over his foot. The defense denied negligence and argued that Pruitt was walking too close to the helicopter. As an experienced spotter, he should have known better, the defense argued.
Pruitt was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. He sustained a comminuted fracture of the left distal fibula, as well as a left open bimalleolar ankle fracture with syndesmotic injury. He underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the fractures. The fibula fracture healed, but the ankle fracture did not, and he underwent a second open reduction and internal fixation of the ankle in December 2014. He also underwent physical therapy, but the ankle fracture never healed properly. He was off work for about 1.5 years. Pruitt sought about $47,000 for past medical bills. He also sought future medical bills, past and future lost earning capacity, past and future physical pain and mental anguish and past and future physical impairment. His attorney asked for a total of $10.7 million. The defense noted that Pruitt’s orthopedic surgeon blamed the non-union of the ankle fracture on Pruitt’s failure to follow doctors’ orders about not putting weight on it.
The jury rendered a defense verdict, finding only Pruitt negligent.
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.