A construction worker who fell three stories and was paralyzed from the waist down when the platform he was standing on gave out from under him has settled his case for $15 million.
The settlement was reached Thursday in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in plaintiff Pedro Acosta-Capois’ lawsuit against multiple defendants, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, Stewart L. Cohen.
According to documents, Acosta-Capois was a laborer who installed gutters on an apartment building under construction at the Goshen Estates job site. Acosta-Capois was being lifted to the roof of the building with a telehandler, manufactured by CAT, in a wooden box. The telehandler tipped over, and the box detached from its forks, causing Acosta-Capois to fall, the suit claimed.
The defendants are general contractors Blank Associates; Giles & Ransome and its related entities, dealers of heavy equipment; construction equipment company Caterpillar and its related entities; TJ Ward Plumbing & Heating & Commercial Services; Foremost Industries; and Goshen Meadows Investors and GMI builders.
A TJ Ward employee was responsible for operating the telehandler, according to the plaintiff’s complaint.
“Prior to giving permission to use the equipment, defendants Blank Associates, Ransome, and CAT did not ensure that TJ Ward was properly trained and qualified in the use of the telescopic handler and the platform, and did not provide TJ Ward with any warnings concerning the safe and proper use of the telescopic handler or the platform, and did not provide TJ Ward with any instructions or written material regarding safe and proper use of the telescopic handler and platform,” the complaint said.
“Defendants owed a duty of care to Acosta-Capois to make sure the telescopic handler was used in a safe and appropriate manner, that the platform would be used in a safe and appropriate manner, that anyone using the telescopic handler would be adequately trained and qualified to operate the telescopic handler, that anyone using the telescopic handler would be warned and instructed in its proper operation, and that anyone who might be lifted by the telescopic handler, in the platform would be warned about the risk of death and/or serious bodily injury under such circumstances,” the complaint said.
All defendants filed preliminary objections to the complaint, each contesting Acosta-Capois’ allegations against them.
The case was scheduled for trial in July, according to electronic court documents.
TJ Ward is represented by Robert Cosgrove of Wade Clark & Mulcahy; Foremost Industries is represented by Stephen A. Scheuerle of Hohn & Scheuerle; Blank Associates is represented by Robert Billet of Billet Hillsley; GMI is represented by Edward McGinn of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin; and Ransome is represented by Michael Pullano of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.
None of the defendants’ counsel responded to requests for comment.
Cohen, of Cohen, Placitella & Roth in Philadelphia, said in an email, “No amount of money can erase the heartache that comes with the injury my client suffered, but this settlement is fair and just. The amount of the settlement speaks for itself.”