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Defense verdict in suit over Watauga construction injury

In October 2006, the plaintiff’s decedent, a roofing subcontractor, was injured on a construction site on Beech Mountain when wooden roofing trusses fell on him causing open leg fracture and closed arm fracture. He passed away in July 2009, following amputation of the injured leg, and his physician opined that his 2009 death was caused by the 2006 accident.

The defense presented evidence at trial that the general contractor-defendant was on site every day supervising work, reviewed detailed plans with all subcontractors and personally inspected the subject trusses on the day of the accident with the decedent and found the trusses and bracing safe.

The defendant had built houses on Beech Mountain for 30 years without an accident, and the identical house seven times before. The plaintiff’s expert opined that if the trusses were erected as described by defendant, then it complied with all applicable industry standards. Defense also presented circumstances showing decedent caused the collapse, but the jury did not reach the issue of contribution, finding the defendant was not negligent.

Co-defendant-subcontractors defaulted before trial, and all of plaintiff’s medical bills were excluded from evidence. Punitive-damages claims were dismissed upon summary judgment.

Verdict Report

Injuries alleged: Open fracture of lower right leg and closed fracture of left arm. Subsequent infection of leg, below-the-knee amputation and death.

Case name: Sandra Jeanne Crawford, Executrix of the Estate of Wilber Lee Crawford v. M & K Development Corp.; Malcolm C. Minor, a/k/a Mark Minor, individually; Accelerated Framing, Inc.; Reece Davis, individually, and d/b/a Superior Framing; and David Gentry, individually

Case number: 09 CVS 773

Court: Watauga County Superior Court

Judge: Hon. Anderson Cromer

Verdict or settlement: Tried to jury verdict for defense.

Date: July 23, 2010

Amount: $0 – no liability

Special damages: The plaintiff asked the jury for $640,000 in medical expenses. The plaintiff’s expert economist testified to economic losses over $1.3 million.

Defendant’s attorneys: Jeremy A. Stephenson and Denis Volkov, both of The McNair Law Firm (Charlotte)

Editor’s note: The information in Lawyers Weekly’s verdicts and settlements reports was submitted by the counsel for the prevailing party and represents the attorney’s characterization of the case.


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