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A $1.5 million settlement has been reached in a Bucks County, Pa., workplace injury action brought by a man rendered paraplegic in an August 2001 accident. Of the actions filed in Bucks County between 2000 and 2004, only two suits resulted in settlements for more than $1 million, according to a search of reported verdicts and settlements in The Legal Intelligencer’s internal archives. The two settlements were $3.25 million in a 2000 dram shop case, and $4.5 million in a 2003 shareholder action. During that same time period only three awards of more than $1 million were reported to The Legal Intelligencer, and none was for more than $3 million. (The Bucks common pleas prothonotary does not keep a record of civil verdicts according to size.) Nebil Maazoun was injured on his first day at the re-roofing site in question, according to court papers in Maazoun v. McWane Inc. Maazoun filed suit against McWane, which does business in the building that was being re-roofed, and Lehigh Valley Building Systems Inc., the project manager that hired Maazoun’s employer as a subcontractor for the site, according to court papers. Maazoun’s attorney, Brandon Swartz of David F. Itkoff & Associates in Penns Park, Pa., said the settlement would be funded entirely by Lehigh Valley Building Systems’ insurer, Penn National Insurance. McWane was listed as an additional insured on Lehigh Valley Building Systems’ Penn National policy for the purposes of the re-roofing project, according to Swartz. McWane spokeswoman Michelle Clemon stressed that neither McWane nor its insurer is contributing to the settlement. According to court papers, Maazoun claimed he fell through an unguarded roof skylight, landing on the ground 25 feet below. He further asserted that the area immediately around and leading to the skylight had not been properly demarcated with warning signs, and that McWane had not installed OSHA-compliant features to protect roof workers from falling through the skylights above its facility. In response, Lehigh Valley Building Systems contended that the skylight area had been clearly roped off and that it should not be held liable for the negligence of Maazoun’s employer, an independent contractor, according to court papers. Moving for summary judgment, McWane stated that it made both Lehigh Valley Building Systems and Maazoun’s employer aware of the skylights and the hazards they presented, according to court papers. McWane also argued that OSHA regulations concerning Maazoun’s safety do not apply to McWane, but to Maazoun’s employers. Swartz said an OSHA investigation conducted after Maazoun’s accident revealed no violations on the part of the defendants. Maazoun originally demanded $3 million — the limit of the Penn National policy, Swartz said. At a December mediation session before Edwin Naythons of ADR Options Inc., the defendants made a joint offer of $500,000, he said. The final settlement was agreed to Jan. 13 after a second session with Naythons that lasted roughly three hours, according to Swartz. In addition to the settlement, Maazoun’s workers’ compensation lien of $560,000 was waived, he said. Maazoun, who was 37 at the time of the accident, has a wife and two children, and will be able to perform sedentary work duties, Swartz said. “We think that this was an outstanding result because first, there was an OSHA investigation that found no violation, and second, because historically, [cases filed in] Bucks County [do not usually result in] substantial verdicts,” Swartz said. McWane’s attorney in Maazoun was Robert Kelly Jr. of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Lehigh Valley Building Systems was represented by Jonathan Herbst of Margolis Edelstein in Philadelphia. Herbst did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

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