Reger Rizzo & Darnall Partner Successfully Defends Client in Philadelphia Three-Day Jury Trial

Our Partner, Robert J. Foster, recently obtained a verdict in favor of our client, Europa Carpentry II, after the conclusion of a three-day jury trial in Philadelphia, PA in the matter of Henry Salguero v. Europa Carpentry II and Murray Development.

Plaintiff Salguero was a framer employed by TDI Construction, a sub-contractor of Europa Carpentry II. Europa had been hired by Murray Development, the site’s construction manager, to do framing work on a new construction project of five houses at 8th & Lombard Streets in Philadelphia. The owner was not named in the lawsuit.

The Plaintiff claimed he fractured his wrist when a wooden beam he was standing on collapsed. The Plaintiff brought suit against both Europa and Murray development, alleging negligence based on the failure to have an on-site supervisor with OSHA-30 training or provide fall protection equipment. Defendants contended that the accident was due to Plaintiff’s failure to follow his supervisor’s instructions and perform his work from a ladder, instead of climbing onto the beam. Because the Plaintiff’s immediate supervisor testified that he had instructed the Plaintiff to use the ladder, the Defendants contended that the lack of a supervisor did not cause the accident. Defendants also contended that they were both the statutory employers of the Plaintiff.

Plaintiff argued at trial that he had tried to do the work from the ladder, but the ladder was not tall enough. Plaintiff claimed that after he realized that the ladder was too short he was told to climb onto the beam by his supervisor. This version of the accident, raised for the first time at trial, was subject to vigorous cross-examination.

The Defendants also disputed the extent of the injuries. The plaintiff claimed multiple non-displaced hairline fractures. Defendants noted that although the doctors agreed there had been a fracture, there was no clear indication that it was caused by this fall. This argument was bolstered by advising the jury of Plaintiff’s prior career as a rodeo cowboy. Defendants also noted the lack of any actual physical therapy and his ability to work as a painter as signs that any residual problems with his wrist injury were minimal.

After a three-day trial, the jury concluded that Murray Development was not negligent. The jury found that Europa II was negligent but that its negligence was not the cause of the accident.