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Philadelphia Jury Awards $3 Million Verdict to Permanently Injured Victim of Construction Site Negligence

CONTACT:
Angela Leone, Marketing & PR Coordinator
aleone@messalaw.com
215-568-3500

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia Jury Awards $3 Million Verdict to Permanently Injured Victim of Construction Site Negligence

PHILADELPHIA, PA – June 29, 2015

Last Thursday, a Philadelphia jury awarded $3 million in compensatory damages to a Pennsylvania man who was permanently injured after a set of temporary stairs on a construction site collapsed underneath him.

In January 2012, the plaintiff, John White, was employed as a carpenter on a residential construction project at 11th and Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia. At the time, no permanent staircases had been installed at the worksite. Instead, temporary staircases were designed, constructed, and installed without adequate mid-span support by Beiler Construction, LLC. A number of carpenters and subcontractors had noticed that these stairs were shaky from the beginning. A plumber even referred to the use of the stairs as “a joke,” noting that two men could never use them at the same time. Mr. White approached his supervisor about the potentially dangerous condition of the stairs five times. Nothing was ever done.

Drywall, Inc., a company hired to install drywall at the worksite, disturbed the stability of the mid-span support of the temporary stairs during the course of their installation. After their work was completed, a safety re-inspection never took place at the construction site or of the stairs. A number of crew members noticed an increased wobbliness when ascending or descending the stairs after the drywall was installed.

On January 19, 2012, Mr. White was descending the stairs from the third floor with another worker behind him when the stairs suddenly collapsed. Mr. White fell two stories to the ground floor, violently striking his head, shoulder, and back. He sustained a concussion with post-concussion syndrome, a broken shoulder blade, a torn rotator cuff, and herniated discs in his lower back. Mr. White also underwent arthroscopic surgery to the shoulder to repair nerve entrapment.

The jury found Beiler Construction, LLC liable for 40% of Mr. White’s damages, having negligently designed, constructed, and installed the temporary stairs. The jury also found Drywall, Inc., and Drywall Inc. subcontractor Guadalupe Hernandez 40% and 20% liable, respectively, for Mr. White’s damages, having disturbed the stability of the stairs’ supports and therefore contributing to the collapse. The jury awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages to Mr. White and $500,000 to Mrs. White for loss of consortium.

The case was tried before The Honorable Kenneth J. Powell, Jr. in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Attorneys Joseph L. Messa, Jr. and Jenimae Almquist of Messa & Associates, P.C. represented the plaintiff. The trial lasted 14 days. The jury took one day to deliberate.

Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is an AV-rated attorney, listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and was named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers. Mr. Messa is also an advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer from 2009 to 2015 and was selected to the Top 100 Pennsylvania and Top 100 Philadelphia lists for 2012, 2013, and 2015. This past year, Mr. Messa was certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and awarded Diplomat status.

For more information, please contact Angela Leone at 215-568-3500 or aleone@messalaw.com.

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About Messa & Associates, P.C.
Messa & Associates, P.C. represents individuals and their families in complex personal injury matters, including catastrophic injury, medical malpractice, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, fires and explosions. Our attorneys serve Pennsylvania clients throughout the state, including in Philadelphia and other surrounding communities in Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Bucks County. Messa & Associates are also proud to serve New Jersey clients throughout that state, and also litigate selected cases throughout the country.

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