November 9, 2006
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023

Edward C. Prieto

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – November 9, 2006 – A Ft. Lauderdale jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Sterling Contractors, LLC in a case involving a fall from a ladder. The Plaintiff, Charles Post, alleged that he suffered a fractured wrist, a separated shoulder, and neck and hip problems when he fell from an A-frame stepladder owned by Sterling Contractors. Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., (QPWB) trial attorneys Edward C. Prieto and Lynn M. Bagley tried the case before Judge Dorian Damoorgian of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida. Richard Hussey represented the Plaintiffs, Charles Post and his wife Mary Doyle.
The Plaintiffs alleged that on December 1, 2004, while inspecting painting work done by Sterling Contractors on behalf of The Village of Lake Pine Homeowners Association, Plaintiff, Charles Post, was provided with a ladder by an employee of Sterling Contractors to inspect the top of trellises. As Mr. Post descended the ladder, he alleged the back left leg of the ladder collapsed causing him to fall. As a result, Plaintiff alleged he suffered a broken right wrist, an AC joint separation of his right shoulder, disc herniations of his neck, and problems with his right hip. The Plaintiff sought compensatory damages for past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical expenses. Plaintiff’s wife, Mary Doyle, filed a claim for Loss of Consortium alleging the loss of her husband’s services, companionship and intimacy.
During the trial, Mr. Post and two homeowner association board members who were at the scene during the incident, testified that the ladder in question was brought and set up by one of Sterling’s employees. Although no one saw the Plaintiff fall, the two board members testified that they saw the Plaintiff holding his right arm and complaining of severe pain. Furthermore, the board members testified that they saw the back left leg of the ladder bent in a “V” position. The Sterling employee testified via videotape that he did not obtain the ladder or set it up for the Plaintiff. And that the Plaintiff had walked to another part of the building, returning several minutes later complaining of pain.
Shortly after the incident and per Plaintiff’s request for “insurance purposes,” Sterling provided the Plaintiff with the 6-foot, aluminum, A-frame stepladder which he kept in his custody and control for over a year. However, when the ladder was returned to Sterling, the back left leg was damaged and bent outward. Photographs of the ladder taken previously did not depict any damage.
At trial, Plaintiff stipulated that the ladder was damaged while in his possession, but the damage was inadvertent and unintentional. Plaintiff further argued that the ladder — provided to him over a year ago — was not the ladder he had fallen from. Photo enlargements of the ladder, and before and after images of its destruction, were presented to the jury by the defense. The defense showed that Plaintiffs’ expert witness had previously indicated that it was impossible for the ladder in question to have collapsed as described by three witnesses. Further, the Sterling employee refuted that the ladder was damaged.
During the trial, in addition to the Plaintiff and two board members, Plaintiff called numerous witnesses who testified about Plaintiff’s physical limitations and complaints of pain since the incident. Further, Plaintiff called several physicians who testified that the injuries suffered by Plaintiff were the result of the incident on December 1, 2004. The defense called only two witnesses, the employee of Sterling and an orthopedic surgeon who testified that, other than the broken wrist, Plaintiff’s injuries and complaints of pain were the result of chronic conditions and not from an acute traumatic incident.
After four days of trial, Plaintiffs’ counsel requested approximately $300,000.00 in compensatory damages. The jury rejected both Plaintiffs’ claims and returned a defense verdict for Sterling Contractors.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is a civil defense firm with a wide variety of litigation services for healthcare companies, healthcare facilities, physicians and other healthcare licensed professionals and their insurers. The firm’s Litigation Department also provides general liability defense for all businesses, insureds and insurance companies. Our practice groups and industry-based teams ensure clients have access to attorneys with the best expertise, regardless of location. QPWB maintains a tightly integrated network of seven fully staffed offices, six in Florida and one in Mississippi with attorneys licensed in several states.

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