$1,120,000 – Stephen Hurley v. JARC Builders, Inc., t/a Villanova Builders

On September 16, 1993, Stephen J. Hurley fractured his hip, pelvis and wrist when he fell 24 feet from a scaffolding that collapsed during the construction of a luxury home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff was working for Arnold Builders at the time of his accident as a carpentry subcontractor. Arnold Builders was hired by Defendant, JARC Builders, Inc. t/a/ Villanova Builders and/or Villanova Builders, Inc. Mr. Hurley's employer had retained a subcontractor, Mark Harvey to help supervise the job site.

Robert J. Mongeluzzi Larry Bendesky

The accident occurred on Plaintiffs first day on the job when a scaffold collapsed when Plaintiff stood on it The scaffold was assembled by Mr. Harvey. Plaintiff maintained that JARC Builders, Inc. t/a Villanova Builders was the general contractor for the project The Defendant claimed that Villanova Builders, Inc., which did not have insurance coverage, was the general contractor for the project

Contentions as to Liability:

Plaintiff maintained that JARC Builders, Inc. t/a Villanova Builders was actually the general contractor, since it had admitted this in its Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint. Villanova Builders, Inc. was joined as a third-party defendant by Mark Harvey. Plaintiff contended that JARC Builders, Inc. and/or Villanova Builders, Inc. was responsible for inspection of the job site and had a non-delegable duty pursuant to OSHA to ensure that the work was performed in compliance with OSHA regulations. Plaintiff maintained that Mark Harvey built the scaffold, was an independent contractor, and thus breached his duty under the law to the Plaintiff. Harvey maintained that he was a co-employee of Plaintiff, and not an independent contractor. Plaintiff stressed that Harvey presented a Certificate of Insurance to Plaintiffs employer before beginning work on the project a clear indicator that he was an independent contractor and not a co-employee.

The scaffold was constructed of 2"x4" or 2"x6": outriggers. OSHA required a 2"xl0" outrigger. Plaintiffs expert maintained that the outrigger was improperly sized and braced, and that it was not constructed of scaffold lumber. The owner of Villanova Builders, Inc. and JARC Builders, Inc. t/a Villanova Builders was Dennis Satnick. Mr. Satnick testified that he personally inspected the outrigger scaffolding on behalf of the general contractor prior to the accident Plaintiff maintained that the Defendant thus know or should have known that the scaffolding used at the job site was in violation of OSHA standards.

Injuries and Damages: Mr. Hurley sustained a fractured pelvis, a crushed left acetabular, four fractured left metacarpal bones, a fractured left navicular carpal bone, and facial abrasions. He was hospitalized at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and underwent a closed reduction of his hip, closed reduction of his wrist, and subsequently an open reduction with internal fixation of both the left hip and the left carpus. He was hospitalized from September 16, 1993 through September 27,1993 at Medical College of Pennsylvania, and then at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital from September 27, 1993 through October 5, 1993.

His treating physician, Henry Sherk, M.D. of the Medical College of Pennsylvania, opined that Mr. Hurley would require at least one and probably two or three hip replacements. His hand surgeon, Dr. Askin, opined that Mr. Hurley would need a wrist fusion.

Before the accident Mr. Hurley sold cars for Craig Scott Honda from 1989 through 1993 and had averaged approximately $43,000 per year. Plaintiffs disability specialist rendered the opinion that Plaintiff would be unable to return to work as an automobile salesman since he would be required to spend approximately 70% of his time standing.

Mr. Hurley plans to begin work in the family travel agency business, which would pay approximately $13,500 to begin, and would level off at approximately $22,400. Plaintiffs economist Andrew Verzilli, Ph.D., prepared estimates of the value of loss of earning capability relative to Mr. Hurley in a range between $800,000 and $1,250,000. The workers'compensation lien was approximately $120,000. Plaintiffs past medical expenses were approximately $65,000. Plaintiff retained a certified rehabilitation nurse Mona Yudkoff, R.N., who estimated Plaintiffs future medical expenses in the range of $360,000 to $400,000.

Outcome of the Case: The case settled for $1,120,000, plus waiver of the $120,000 workers' compensation lien. JARC Builders, Inc.'s liability insurance carrier also' provided Plaintiffs workers' compensation insurance.' JARC Builders, Inc. t/a Villanova Builders, Inc. paid $800,000 of their $1,000,000 liability policy plus $45,000 in a commutation of future workers' compensation benefits, along with the waiver of their $120,000 workers' compensation lien. Mark Harvey paid their $275,000 of his $300,000 policy.

Plaintiffs Expert Witnesses: Stephen A. Estrin, (construction safety), Mahopac, N.Y.; Andrew G. Verzilli, Ph.D., (economist), Philadelphia; Henry Sherk, M.D., (orthopedist), Philadelphia; Stanley B. Askin, M.D., (hand surgeon), Philadel¬phia; Peter Nesbitt, M.A., (vocational rehabilitation), Philadelphia; and Mona Yudkoff, R.N., (rehabilitation nurse), Bala Cynwyd, PA.

Plaintiffs Attorneys: Robert J. Mongeluzzi and Larry Bendesky of Daniels, Saltz, Mongeluzzi and Barrett, Ltd., Philadelphia.

Related Attorneys

Robert J. Mongeluzzi

Office: 215-575-2989

Larry Bendesky
Larry Bendesky Managing Shareholder

Office: 215-575-2952
Mobile: 610-639-3221