The plaintiff, a construction worker, fell seven stories when the ropes supporting his suspension scaffold broke. His lifeline also failed. He suffered fractures to his vertebra, pelvis, ankle and finger, and suffered from erectile dysfunction and a neurogenic bladder.
The ropes were found to have dry rot. The defendants contended that the plaintiff’s lifeline did not fail, but rather, that the plaintiff did not attach his safety harness to the lifeline.
The court granted summary judgment on liability, since there was no question that the failure of the ropes was a proximate cause of the accident. The plaintiff’s attorney attempted to introduce an animated video recreating the fall. The court did not allow it.
The plaintiff sustained vertebra fractures at C2, T6, L1, S2 and S-3. He fractured his pelvis and a finger, and also sustained a right-ankle pylon fracture that required open reduction and internal fixation.
The plaintiff claimed a subarachnoid hemorrhage with mild cognitive loss. He also claimed erectile dysfunction and a neurogenic bladder.
The defendants contended that the plaintiff’s spinal fractures had healed and that the plaintiff was exaggerating his inability to move his spine. They further claimed that the plaintiff did not try to take advantage of proper medical care and physical therapy.
The defendants' neurologist initially disbelieved the plaintiff’s erectile dysfunction, but was required to admit it by the time of the trial, since the defendants' examining urologist felt that the dysfunction was proven. The neurologist claimed that the plaintiff’s lack of mobility and pain could be substantially improved by three months of physical therapy and use of a "Swiss exercise ball."
The defendants also argued that the plaintiff did not need home care, since he was taking care of himself up to the time of trial. They further argued that since the plaintiff was going to return to Poland, his claims for medical, home-care and lost earnings should be at Polish rates. They also offered proof that the plaintiff was paid cash, that he did not file taxes, and that he was an illegal alien.
The plaintiff’s treating psychiatrist testified that the plaintiff told him that he would have returned to Poland had the accident not happened.
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