The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a decision affirming $7.8 million in damages against Consol Energy Inc. The personal injury suit was brought by two workers who were seriously injured when a metal staircase they were descending collapsed. The Supreme Court let stand a 2012 ruling by the state’s Superior Court that upheld the 2011 ruling in favor of David and Debra Gillingham and Clifford and Pamela Decker. David Gillingham and Clifford Decker were working at a Consol facility in Allegheny County, Pa., in 2007 when they were injured in the staircase collapse.
David Gillingham tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder, requiring three surgeries, broke his foot and suffered a compound fracture in his spine from the accident. Decker suffered three fractures to his left femur as well as a bruised knee, and received two surgeries as a result of the accident. Decker and his wife and Gillingham and his wife filed separate suits against Consol over the accident in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. In May 2011, a jury awarded Gillingham $1,877,000, Mrs. Gillingham $923,000, Decker $4,543,000 and Mrs. Decker $457,000.
Consol appealed the decision, asking for either a judgment overturning the jury verdict or a new trial. It argued, among other issues, that the damages were excessive and that the trial court allowed improper testimony. In reviewing the case, the Superior Court concluded that
The court said that was due to the company’s superior bargaining power and the fact that he was employed by a contractor for Consol. The appeals court also reviewed the damages determined by the jury, concluding that the sums awarded were appropriate.
Timothy Conboy of Pittsburg-based Caroselli Beachler McTiernan & Conboy, represented the Plaintiffs in this case. He did a very good job for them. The cases are Gillingham et al. v. Consol Energy Inc. and Decker et al. v. Consol Energy Inc. in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Sources: Dan Packel and Law360.com
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