A federal jury has awarded a former marine engineer from Waterville, Maine whose fall on the job left him a paraplegic more than $5 million, but then reduced the award after determining his negligence was a factor in the accident.
Bruce Falconer, 43, sued Penn Maritime Inc. of New York three years ago in U.S. District Court in New York for damages stemming from an accident that partially paralyzed him five years ago. The case was moved earlier this year to federal court in Bangor.
On Nov. 22, a 10-member jury awarded Falconer $2.6 million for future medical costs and $2.4 million for lost and future wages from his former employer. The jury also awarded the former marine engineer $100,000 for pain and suffering.
Jurors announced their verdict following 15 days of testimony. The jury reduced the award by 35 percent to about $3.25 million after deciding that Falconer’s negligence contributed to the accident.
The 1984 Maine Maritime Academy graduate was carrying an engine part when he fell 14 feet through an open hatch and struck a railing on July 30, 2000. The fall caused a spinal cord injury. The boat was in dry dock in Tampa., Fla., at the time.
Falconer and his wife, Lee, held hands as the verdict was read and appeared stunned by the $100,000 award for pain and suffering.
Falconer claimed that Penn Maritime was negligent because the boat’s captain did not install safety rails around the hatch opening. Penn Maritime contended that the company was not negligent because Falconer was responsible for installing the safety rails.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock described the trial as “long, difficult and arduous” moments before the jury delivered its verdict.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.