Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP partner Frank J. Lombardo settled this matter at mediation prior to trial in the amount of $3,500,000.00. The plaintiff, a 36-year-old non-union laborer, was caused to fall one level from an A-frame ladder while painting the bottom of the second-floor fire escape platform.

The plaintiff sustained lumbar and cervical disk herniations and tears of the medial and lateral meniscus of the left knee. The plaintiff underwent a two-level lumbar laminectomy; decompression of the L4, L5, and S1 nerve roots; lumbar interbody fusion at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels that included insertion of posterior pedicle screw rods and autogenous and allograft bone grafting; anterior cervical interbody arthrodesis at C3-C4; and a left knee medial meniscectomy and partial lateral meniscectomy.

The defense counsel contended that the plaintiff’s accident did not occur as alleged, in that he provided numerous conflicting accounts as to how the accident occurred to his foreman, his supervisor, the EMT staff, and emergency room personnel. Frank contended that the statements provided to the foreman and supervisor were not from the plaintiff but from persons who did not witness the accident - therefore hearsay and inadmissible – and the statements to EMS and ER personnel were consistent with the plaintiff’s account of how he fell from the ladder and fire escape.

The defense also contended that the cervical spine injury was congenital, the knee surgery was the result of a preexisting degenerative condition, and that the plaintiff did not complain of lumbar spine pain until six months after the fall. Frank countered this contention by showing that the plaintiff had no prior complaints of pain, and that if he did have a preexisting condition, then the plaintiff was more susceptible to injury, and in any event, the defendants are liable for the same.

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