CASE NAME: D.Q. v. ARE, Inc., et. al.
Case No. 37-2017-000373XX-CU-PO-CTL, Judge Timothy Taylor.
My client (DQ) was a 45-year-old Air Coil Refrigeration Specialist working for a Refrigeration (HVAC vendor) company that did quarterly inspection and cleaning for local businesses in the San Diego area. His job title was a Senior Maintenance Technician. On March 24, 2016, he slipped off the top part of a poorly maintained exterior steel ladder from a local business in the Sorrento Valley area. The subject ladder did not have the required non-slip surface, and/or the surface of the ladder rungs had deteriorated rendering it in an unsafe condition. DQ fell approximately 16 feet onto concrete sustaining grave and permanent injuries.
The ladder was known to be slippery for over one year before this preventable fall injury. The property owner had known this ladder was the only way a person could access the roof, and it was required by those needing to access the roof. There was a lot of equipment on the roof that needed maintenance. The property owner, and its subcontractors, did not warn DQ of the condition of the unsafe ladder. Further, the property owner (and all defendants) failed to remove or repair/maintain the subject ladder from use at the jobsite with knowledge the ladder was in an unsafe and compromised condition.
DQ was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he underwent emergency back surgery by a neurosurgeon. He had multiple bone breaks and shattered his knees. Ultimately, he had a total of 14 surgeries, 2 of which he “coded out.” Unfortunately, he has lasting permanent injuries to his knees, and pelvis – both of his ACLs in his knees are gone. All of the medical care fell under the purview of workers’ compensation. In the end, workers’ compensation paid out just over one million (1,000,010.00) in medical care. This was also the lien amount that they pursued in the litigation to get paid back in the even of any settlement – they also hired a lawyer to make sure they would get this amount paid back to them.
I teamed up with fellow trial lawyer, Ben Bunn. Ben has a tremendous amount of experience with construction site injuries and workers’ compensation. Ben was an invaluable member of the trial team. Many times, in injury cases that leave the injured party with severe injuries, and the facts of the injury producing event leave room for apportionment (blaming part of the injury producing event on the injured person), it is wise to team up and build a trial team. This was my decision with Ben. Ben has been practicing law well over 30 years, and is a great person, as well as a great lawyer. I learned with my association with him that he is extremely compassionate and a fantastic communicator.
We had our “work cut out for us” in this case. We had an extremely injured client facing allegations that he had something in his hand when he was climbing down the ladder, of which there was no direct evidence from any witness, and we faced two major defense summary judgment motions, in addition to at least 6 different defense lawyers (which included 1 from workers’ compensation looking to recoup the money they paid out for all the medical care to DQ) doing their best to defend the case.
The defense lawyers also had to figure out the insurance policies. There were so many excess and primary coverages in play, the defense lawyers needed to have their own mediation in terms of figuring out which defendant would pay when. We finally had our mediation in Los Angeles, which took the entire day. The case did not settle on that day – it took about two weeks following our mediation attempt before we were able to obtain an amicable resolution. The result was life changing for DQ, and we are grateful for the end result.
Ben and I prepared this case for trial before Judge Taylor. We met with independent witnesses, and obtained their statements in video format for the mediation (and trial if we ended up there).
If you, or someone you know, is in need of good injury trial lawyer, feel free to contact me, Mark Blane, at (619) 813-7955, or download one of my free Injury Guide Ebooks directly from my website today.