Construction Injury Leads to Settlement

In some cases, it takes persistence and perseverance to obtain justice. Ben Barrett, Sr., recently was able to win a substantial award for a client after a seven-year court battle. The client, a 53-year-old construction worker, sustained multiple fractures to his right lower leg due to falling 17 feet when roof trusses collapsed during installation at a housing construction site. The injury happened in September of 2001. The trusses in question were manufactured by Wickes Lumber. The battle was over why the trusses fell. Barrett claimed that one of the trusses was defective because it had a misplaced metal connector plate on one side in the center of a 40-foot span. The truss broke in the area of the defect, causing others to collapse with it. Wickes claimed that the trusses fell due to an inadequate temporary bracing. The defense produced a video attempting to reenact the event, demonstrating that the incident could not have occured as plaintiffs claimed. Barrett, through experts, presented testimony that the video demonstration was not reliable.

Wickes filed for bankruptcy protection, which put the case on hold for almost three years. An agreement was finally reached with the bankruptcy trustee to permit the case to continue and the case was set for jury trial in June of 2007. Each side, retained three expert witnesses to explain to the jury why their theory was correct. Miraldi & Barrett spent $60,000 for expenses and thousands of hours in time to pursue this claim because Wickes adamantly denied liability throughout the case. An agreement to resolve the case was reached on the eve of trial. The settlement includes a significant lump sum plus a structured benefit for life.