A 62-year-old North Salem, New York, resident who suffered irreversible brain damage in a freak accident at a Brookfield Costco in 2016 has sued the wholesale chain for monetary damages.
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford, Peter Aurigemma Jr. claims he was attempting to remove a package of paper towels from the top of a display pallet when he suffered major injuries.
The seven-page lawsuit says Aurigemma was struck in the face above his left eye by a falling steel rod that was approximately 40 inches long and three inches wide. It says the steel rod struck Aurigemma causing irreversible brain damage.
Aurigemma suffered a concussion, nerve and muscle damage to his face and around his left eye, neurological dexterity deficiencies in his left hand, migraine headaches, light and noise sensitivities, change in mood and behavior, and short-term memory lapses, according to his complaint.
As all federal lawsuits do, the Aurigemma complaint seeks at least $75,000 in damages. It claims the wholesale chain should be held liable for the accident, and alleges Costco “provided no warning to the plaintiff of the unsafe, dangerous or defective conditions” at the display pallet.
Costco, which is headquartered in Washington state, does not have a public affairs department. But John Dahmen, Costco’s financial planning and investor relations director, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Wednesday that the company does not comment on pending lawsuits.
The suit says the store was negligent and careless, and that Costco ”created an unsafe, dangerous, or defective condition on their premises by leaving or placing a steel rod in a location trafficked by customers that could not be detected by plaintiff, or other customers.” And, the suit continues, store personnel “stacked the self-service display pallet to a height (seven to eight feet) that would prevent plaintiff, or others similarly situated, from discovering any unsafe, dangerous, or defective condition on top of their display.”
Aurigemma had to undergo medical examinations, tests, painful treatments, physical therapy and surgeries, according to his complaint. It was not clear Wednesday how much the plaintiff had incurred in medical expenses.
At one point, the lawsuit states, Aurigemma was prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help alleviate his injuries. The medication, though, caused Aurigemma to suffer a gastrointestinal bleed that required a colonoscopy.
Aurigemma is being represented by Christopher Sochacki of Litchfield-based Cramer & Anderson. Sochacki said Wednesday he would need his client’s permission before discussing the matter, and did not respond with further comment by press time.
Judge Robert Chatigny will hear the case.