Our firm was scheduled to begin trial last month in Walker County, Ala. We represented Johnny and Lorra Huffman, a family from Montgomery, in that case. Johnny Huffman was working in 2007 for Stone & Webster as a union carpenter. A forced outage occurred of one at the boilers at the Gorgas Power Plant in Walker County. That plant is operated by Alabama Power Company. A contract was entered into by Alabama Power Company with Scaffold Concepts, Inc. for that company to provide the scaffolding necessary to allow the boilermakers access to the boiler components to make necessary repairs. Stone & Webster, another company, provided the labor to construct and disassemble the scaffolding. Scaffold Concepts provided the scaffolding and agreed to provide the person to ensure the scaffolding was constructed appropriately and safety.
Scaffold Concepts failed to provide all of the needed materials to construct the scaffolding. It also failed to construct the scaffolding in a safe manner pursuant to industry standards and failed to provide a competent person (or safety person) to be onsite to ensure the proper disassembly of the scaffolding. During the disassembly process, a large wooden board was dropped from above and struck Mr. Huffman in the head. Even though he was wearing a hard hat, Mr. Huffman suffered serious and permanent brain injury. He will be unable to return to work.
Scaffold Concepts has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the claims against the company. Under the settlement Stone & Webster’s workers’ compensation carrier will continue to pay Mr. Huffman’s medical expenses, which are related to his head injury, for the rest of his life. That is very significant and an important aspect of the settlement. The case was handled by Ben Locklar, a lawyer in our Personal Injury Section, and he did a very good job for his clients.
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