A jury in Alleghany County, Va., recently awarded $2,664,373 in a construction site lawsuit. On a spring day in 2006, the Plaintiff in the lawsuit, Michael Boguess, was helping his brother Todd pour concrete at a friend’s house. The 39-year-old mill worker was struck in the head by a falling tree limb and was paralyzed from the neck down. The facts of the incident were undisputed but liability was the issue. The concrete delivery company acknowledged that its truck driver backed into the tree when he started to leave the premises. The company further acknowledged that the truck’s contact caused the large branch to fall and hit the Plaintiff.
But, the concrete company denied any liability and claimed the incident was not its fault. Instead, it blamed Todd Boguess, the brother who had been acting as a spotter while the truck was backing up. The company also blamed the homeowner, who it claimed had improperly pruned the tree. The case had been pending for nearly six years when it came to trial. The jury’s verdict consisted of $1,959,971 in damages, plus more than $680,000 in interest. The six-year time lapse between the accident and the trial allowed the jury to add interest to the award, bringing the total recovery to $2,644,373.
The accident occurred on May 18, 2006. Construction Materials Co. had just completed a concrete delivery and the concrete truck was turning around to leave the premises when the “pony axel” on top of the truck came into contact with the canopy of the tree. This caused a large limb to dislodge. The Plaintiff, who was standing beneath the tree, was struck in the head by the falling branch and was immediately paralyzed. The Plaintiff’s medical expenses were approximately $133,000, and he had about $46,000 in lost wages.
Construction Materials Co., not only denied all liability for the accident, it also filed counterclaims against the Plaintiff’s brother and the property owner. The Defense claimed Todd Boguess should have alerted the driver before he came into contact with the tree branches. It also used an expert at trial, an arborist, who testified that improper pruning of the tree caused the limbs to weaken from rot. The parties went to mediation, but negotiations were unsuccessful. Russell W. Updike, Nolan R. Nicely Jr. and Jennifer Crawford, lawyers with Wilson, Updike and Nicely, located in Covington, Va., represented the Plaintiff in this case and they did a very good job for him.
Source: Lawyers USA Online