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Scaffolding accident in Philly yields $9.1M award Case Type: Personal Injury Case: Clarke v. Kennedy Boulevard Associates I L.P., No. 980802179 (Ct. Common Pleas, Pa.) Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Robert H. Nemeroff, of Elkins Park, Pa.’s Jaffe, Friedman, Shuman, Sciolla, Nemeroff & Applebaum; and Kenneth S. Saffren, of Jenkintown, Pa.’s Saffren & Weinberg Defense Attorney: Charles W. Craven, of Philadelphia’s Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin Jury Verdict: $9.14 million Oliver Clarke and Charles Burns were plasterers working on a renovation in Philadelphia in October 1996. They were standing on a rolling scaffold — which had been positioned near the edge of a staircase — applying plaster to a portion of a ceiling when the scaffold moved, said plaintiffs’ counsel Robert H. Nemeroff. As they were working, “one or more of the outer wheels of the scaffold dropped over the edge of the top step” and sent both workers crashing 25 feet to the sidewalk below. Both were injured. They sued the general contractor, Clemens Construction Co.; the architect/construction manager, Burt Hill Kosar Rittleman & Associates; and the owner of the building, Kennedy Boulevard Associates I, charging the defendants with maintaining an unsafe workplace. Clemens and Burt Hill were dismissed as defendants. Kennedy contended that it had no responsibility for the placement of a rolling scaffold near a stairway, said defense counsel Charles W. Craven. But a Philadelphia jury awarded Clarke $5.66 million and Burns $3.48 million. The plaintiffs are seeking an additional $953,000 in delay damages. The defense has filed post-trial motions to set aside the verdict, said Craven. Trial over jet ski accident draws defense verdict Case Type: Products Liability Case: Gallagher v. Merkel, No. C096291 (Dist. Ct., Hood Co., Texas) Plaintiff’s Attorneys: William J. Dunleavy and Jeffrey T. Embry, of Dallas’ Law Offices of Windle Turley. Defense Attorneys: E. Glen Johnson, of Fort Worth, Texas’ Kelly, Hart & Hallman; Richard A. Mueller, of St. Louis’ Thompson Coburn; and Robert L. Chaiken, of Dallas’ Chaiken & Chaiken, for Kawasaki Motors Corp.; and R. Lynn Fielder, of Dallas’ Fisk & Fielder, for Shane Merkel and Kawasaki-Suzuki of Granbury Jury Verdict: for the defense On May 27, 1996, Kyle Gallagher, then 30, was test-riding a jet ski on a lake near Fort Worth, Texas. The jet ski had been provided by Shane Merkel, an employee of Kawasaki-Suzuki of Granbury, who was riding another jet ski, a Kawasaki 1100 ZXI, in tandem with Gallagher. The pair came across a boat wake, said defense counsel Robert L. Chaiken, and “Merkel was thrown off and his jet ski whacked Gallagher in the left leg.” The collision caused multiple fractures in Gallagher’s leg. Within weeks of the accident, Kawasaki, maker of the 1100 jet ski, issued a recall notice for the product, said plaintiff’s counsel William J. Dunleavy. The jet ski in question had a tendency “to dip and make a sharp right-hand turn, throwing off riders,” he said. Gallagher sued Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A., Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing U.S. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., charging that the jet ski was defective and caused his injuries. Before the recall, said Dunleavy, “the company was aware of customer complaints.” By May 8, 1996, he added, “the complaints had been confirmed by Kawasaki’s own testing.” Gallagher also sued Merkel and the dealership. The Kawasaki defendants contended that the accident was caused by Gallagher’s negligence in riding the jet ski too close to Merkel and that Merkel lost control of his jet ski because he hit a “difficult boat wake” at high speed, said Chaiken. Gallagher countered, said Dunleavy, that the accident was not his fault: “If you’re riding down a road and someone hits you, how are you at fault?” A Granbury jury found that the accident had not been caused by defects, but that Merkel and the dealership were negligent. But because the jury found Gallagher 51 percent at fault, he was barred from recovering anything, said Chaiken. The jury found the dealership 9 percent and Merkel 40 percent responsible. The plaintiff will be filing post-trial motions to set aside the verdict.

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