8 Million Jury Verdict for Bricklayer Who Fell 30 Feet at Construction Site – Mazzorana v. Emil Perrotta Co.

In a high-risk industry like construction, following correct safety procedures is extremely important. An unsafe work site may not only lead to a construction worker injuring themselves, but could also cause injuries to others. When construction workers cut corners on safety it can have dangerous consequences.

Take for instance the Indiana construction case of John Mazzorana v. Emil Perrotta Co., Inc., 06 L 12451. The 33 year-old plaintiff, John Mazzorana, fell 30 feet after stepping onto an unsupported walking plank. As a result of the fall, Mazzorana ruptured his Achilles tendon and a tendon in his foot and sustained fractures to his left heel and spine.

At the time of the 2006 construction injury, Mazzorana had been working as a bricklayer on the Coffee Creek Center construction project in Chesterton, Indiana. Mazzorana and his fellow bricklayers began work on the project at 7:00 a.m. That same morning, carpenters from Emil Perrotta Co. were also working on the construction project and borrowed some of the bricklayers’ scaffolding to assist their work. However, after the carpenters were done, they left an unsupported walking plank in place.

It was this unsupported walking plank that Mazzorana stepped out onto as he returned to work. The unsupported plank gave way, causing Mazzorana to fall 30 feet to the ground. The severity of his injuries required Mazzorana to undergo surgery; however, he still has hardware in his foot. It has been over five years since his construction site injury, yet Mazzorana is still unable to return to work as a bricklayer.

Mazzorana sued Perrotta Co. for the alleged negligence of its employee carpenters in causing his fall and resulting injuries. At the Indiana trial, the defendant denied that its employees had played a part in Mazzorana’s construction site accident. It maintained that its carpenters had not moved or altered the walking plank while using the bricklayers’ scaffolding. Likewise, it maintained that since the scaffolding was owned by Mazzorana’s employer, Hawk LLC, that any changes made to the plank were Hawk’s fault.

Prior to the start of the Indiana trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys, Colin J. O’Malley and Joseph P. Source, had made a demand to settle for $1.2 million. Perrotta Co.’s highest offer was $500,000; which it then later withdrew. After deliberating for eight hours, the jury returned a verdict of $8,376,000:
-$4 million of nature and extent of injuries and the effect of the injuries on the ability to function as a whole person;
-$2 million past and future physical pain and mental suffering;
-$1.65 million for past lost earnings and benefits loss or impairment of earning capacity;
-$500,000 for deformity; and
-$226,000 for medical expenses.

However, because the jury found the defendant Emil Perrotta Co. to be 50% at fault and the plaintiff’s employer to be 50% at fault, the defendant was only liable for half of the construction injury verdict. Under Indiana law, a defendant is only responsible for paying its percentage of apportioned fault as determined by the jury. Therefore, the $8,376,000 verdict was reduced to $4,188,000.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois construction site injury matters for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Grayslake, Wheaton, Des Plaines, Matteson, and Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

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