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Top 2018 Settlement by New Jersey Law Journal: $5,350,000 Recovery for Foreman Injured in Fall on the Jobsite

Ward v. Aurolife: A 60-year-old foreman of a Plumbing/HVAC company injured when he fell through a 6×6 square hole on a second-floor mezzanine has settled for $5,350,000.

On September 3, 2014, Plaintiff was working at Aurolife Pharma, USA in Dayton, New Jersey, completing the installation of a fluid bed process room and dryer.  As he was working on a second-floor mezzanine, he fell through an unguarded 6×6 square hole, landing on the concrete floor over twenty feet below.

Plaintiff suffered fractures including: his pelvis requiring a plate and screws, lumbar spine, ribs, and left foot.  Plaintiff also suffered a traumatic brain injury.  He also now walks with a permanent limp. The injuries render Plaintiff unable to return to his job as a construction foreman.  As a result, Plaintiff claimed lost wages just short of a million dollars.

The defendant owner of the property and the general contractor both maintained the other was responsible for safety on the site, including providing protective measures around the hole.  A third defendant performed a widening of the hole the day before the fall.  They maintained they were not at fault due to the shortness of their involvement as well as maintaining they instructed the general contractor to cover the hole.

The three defendants argued that Plaintiff had a duty of safety himself.  They also argued he was contributorily negligent in so much as he had been on the mezzanine at least ten times prior and was well aware of the unsafe condition of the unprotected hole.

Over thirty depositions were taken in this matter and the parties were ready to proceed to trial.  However, the case was settled amongst all parties two weeks prior to the trial date.

Plaintiff counsel, Barry R. Eichen, of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, was hired retained by Mr. Ward, and was assisted by Christopher Conrad. Barry Eichen was able to secure the settlement for his client, who was unable to return to work as a foreman, and who now suffers with a permanent limp.