Nicholas Calvo v. United States Lines, Inc.
Type of Injury
securing and unsecuring cargo containers
$1,483,000, reduced to $1,186,400 for 20% comparative negligence of Pltf.
VII/29-23 MARITIME ACCIDENT – LONGSHOREMAN – FALL ON GREASE – HERNIATED DISC
Nicholas Calvo v. United States Lines, Inc. 83 Civ 1061 Verdict 12/8/88 Judge Edward R. Korman, Eastern District
VERDICT: $1,483,000, reduced to $1,186,400 for 20% comparative negligence of Pltf. The gross award was reduced as excessive by the Court to $1,233,000 for a net verdict of $986,400. Subsequently settled for approximately $850,000.
Pltf. Atty: Jethro M. Eisenstein of Profeta & Eisenstein, Manhattan
Deft. Atty: Philip S. LaPenta of Gulmi, LaPenta, Campbell, Burns & Mahoney, Manhattan
Facts: Pltf., in his late 20s at the time of the accident, was working as a lasher aboard Deft.’s ship, the American Legend. His work entailed securing and unsecuring cargo containers. While on top of one of the ship’s hatches, he stepped in a large greasy area and fell 15 feet to the deck. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Testimony indicated that a co-worker had brought the greasy condition to the attention of the night mate, and that nothing was done about it. Deft. argued that Pltf. was comparatively negligent because the condition was open and obvious. Deft. also argued that Pltf. was an experienced longshoreman and should have noticed the condition. Injuries: herniated lumbar disc requiring a laminectomy and a fusion. The laminectomy was partially successful, and Pltf. still has nerve root impingement. Pltf. is functionally illiterate and reads only at a second grade level. He argued that his limited abilities preclude him from finding non-manual labor. Pltf. Experts: Edmond Provder, occupational rehabilitation expert; David Zaumier, economist, Lexington Economic Consultants. Deft. Expert: Raleigh Ralls, economist, Little Rock, Arkansas.