Defense Verdict in Fall from Scaffolding – Witness Testifies the Plaintiff’s Claim Was Fabricated

Attorney Matthew Lindberg successfully obtained a defense verdict in Essex Superior Court in an action arising from a mason’s alleged fall from scaffolding at a residential construction site. The plaintiff, who had been an employee of the masonry subcontractor on the job site for only two days at the time of his alleged fall, claimed that he fell approximately 15-18 feet through an unguarded section of scaffolding. The plaintiff maintained that he had been directed by his foreman to climb the scaffolding to wash the building’s exterior brick facing immediately before the fall. There were no eyewitnesses to plaintiff’s fall. Plaintiff’s alleged injuries included a fractured left foot and an injury to the ulnar nerve of his left elbow, both of which required surgery. During discovery, plaintiff claimed related medical bills in the amount of $30,000 and lost wages exceeding $72,000.

Attorney Lindberg represented the carpentry subcontractor who used and help erect the scaffolding at the subject construction site. Through discovery, defendants’ attorneys uncovered significant inconsistencies in the plaintiff’s version of events. Contractors who worked on the site universally testified that the brick work was complete by the time of the plaintiff’s alleged fall. The carpentry work, which would only be performed after the bricks had been washed, was also complete at the time. Further, a former friend of the plaintiff testified that the plaintiff had sustained a foot injury one to two weeks earlier while playing soccer and that the plaintiff told him he planned to find someone against whom he could bring a claim for injuries.

Through trial subpoenas, the defendants secured surveillance reports prepared for the masonry subcontractor’s worker’s compensation carrier. The author of those reports testified at trial as to the work she did to reveal that the plaintiff returned to work sixteen months sooner than alleged. Additionally, plaintiff’s criminal records revealed that he had been charged with assault and battery following an altercation outside a bar approximately two months after the alleged accident. During the altercation, the plaintiff used his foot to kick his victim. The arresting sergeant testified at trial that the plaintiff ran swiftly without a limp as he attempted to evade arrest.

The defendants called Dr. Michael Kennedy, an orthopedic surgeon, as an expert witness. Dr. Kennedy testified that the plaintiff’s foot fracture was consistent with a sports injury, that any treatment following the assault and battery incident was unrelated to the alleged fall, and that the plaintiff suffered no permanent disability as a result of any alleged fall.

At trial, the plaintiff denied that he had been working during his period of disability and further denied that he had staged the accident to bring a worker’s compensation claim. He also denied that he had ever previously injured his foot playing soccer.

The jury deliberated for approximately three (3) hours before returning a defense verdict for all defendants.

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