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$212,000 Verdict for Construction Worker Tripped on String

Electrical Contractor Used it to Pull Wiring

Missouri Lawyers Weekly

An ironworker working on the new St. Louis City jail sued the project’s electrical contractor after he tripped over a string in a doorway and hurt his shoulder.

On June 26, 2001 Julius Toth was leaving the lunchroom at the construction site when he tripped over a string used to pull wires into place inside the walls. When Toth stretched out his right arm to break his fall, he tore his rotator cuff.

Toth, who underwent physical therapy and surgery, was out of work for nine weeks after the injury. In his lawsuit he claimed the contractor, Guarantee Electrical, had failed to secure the pull string in the doorwayeven though Guarantee employees had picked the string up off the floor nine times previously.

Guarantee argues that there was no way to adequately secure the string and that Toth should have watched where he was walking.

A jury assessed Toth’s damages at $265,000 but allocated him 20 percent fault, leaving him a judgment of $212,000.

Type of Action: Negligence

Type of Injuries: Torn rotator cuff

Court/Case Number/Date: St. Louis City Circuit Court/012-9252/June 18, 2003

Caption: Toth v. Guarantee Electrical Construction Co.

Judge, Jury or ADR: Jury

Name of Judge: Margaret M. Neill

Special damages: $28,480 medical expense; $8,514 lost wages

Verdict or Settlement: $212,000 verdict after allocation of fault

Allocation of Fault: 80 percent to Guarantee Electrical, 20 percent to Toth

Last Offer: $40,000

Last Demand: $180,000

Attorneys for Plaintiff: John J. Page, Anderson & Associates, St. Louis

Insurance Carrier: TIG Insurance Company

Plaintiff’s Experts: Dr. Herbert Haupt, St. Louis (orthopedic surgeon)

Defendant’s Experts: N/A

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