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harness-safety

MILLER WEISBROD WINS $26,500,000 JURY VERDICT IN A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CASE

On October 4th 2017, a Dallas County Jury returned a verdict in the case of Fernando Canales vs. RJC Midwest L.P. in the amount of $26,500,000. The verdict included $11,500,000 of actual damages and $15,000,000 in punitive damages in a construction fall case. The case was tried by firm partner Clay Miller and Josh Birmingham who joined the firm on first day of the trial.

Fernando Canales is a Honduran National that worked as a decker in the construction industry. Decking is the placing of plywood on top of the structural framing to form the floor, wall and roof surfaces of a building. Fernando, while always a hard worker, was and is a simple man—he has a 2nd Grade education and is unable to read or write in either his native Spanish or English.

For years, prior to his accident Fernando had been diligent in wearing a harness and tying a safety rope in an effort to protect himself from a multi-story fall. Fernando had never received any training on actually how to properly use the fall protection equipment. Fernando had “learned” how to secure the safety rope by watching others when he first started working in decking. What Fernando did not know was that he was and had been securing the safety rope backwards for years—instead of clipping the lanyard into his harness, Fernando was tying it wood structures on the building and hooking the opposite end to his harness.

On the day of his accident, Fernando was wearing his harness and tied off in the manner he believed was correct. When he slipped instead of having the lanyard “arrest” his fall the rope spooled out and he went to the ground two stories below. The impact of the fall damaged his spinal cord, leaving Fernando a paraplegic. The General Contractor RJC Midwest Admitted in Deposition Testimony and then again during trial cross examination that it had the responsibility to train not only employees but subcontractors on how to properly use fall protection equipment.






RJC’s corporate representative admitted under cross-examination that it’s on-site safety coordinator ignored RJC’s own safety manual when he failed to carry out this training. Despite these admissions, the Defense Attorney argued vigorously that the fall was 100% Fernando’s fault because he had hooked up the safety rope incorrectly. The jury saw and appreciated that it was not fair to blame the victim when the Defendant had wholly failed in their obligations to train and assigned 100% of the responsibility to RJC.



This is the 2nd 8 figure verdict in the last 60 days for Clay Miller

On August 11, 2017, a jury in Jackson, Tennessee returned a $30,800,000 verdict (including $20,000,000 in punitive damages) against Navistar International arising from a commercial fraud case involving the sale of 18-wheelers.

Miller Weisbrod handles cases involving serious injury and death all across Texas and the United States. We would welcome the opportunity to put our experience and resources to work for you and your clients through a variety of arrangements including referrals or joint ventures.

Miller Weisbrod, LLP is a national law firm specializing in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Partners Clay Miller and Les Weisbrod have built the firm’s reputation with successful verdicts, settlements, appeals and favorable decisions across the country. With resources and finances available to take on the powerful interests that have caused harm, the firm is committed to providing quality representation for clients who are seriously injured and families of victims who are killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct of others. Miller Weisbrod has offices in Dallas and affiliate offices in Houston and Austin.

For more information call (214) 987-0005 or visit www.millerweisbrod.com