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Railyard worker awarded $58M for injured foot

By Douglas Saunders Sr. | May 22, 2024

Torts/Personal Injury

May 22, 2024

Railyard worker awarded $58M for injured foot

Alexander R. Wheeler of Parris Law firm represented the worker. He said the defendants rejected a $3 million pre-trial settlement offer.

A train worker who injured his foot when he slipped and fell while doing electrical repairs at a manufacturing yard in Palmdale won a $58 million jury verdict Tuesday.

The worker's lawyer, Alexander R. Wheeler of Parris Law firm, said Kinkisharyo Inc., the Japan-based railcar manufacturer, "tried everything possible to downplay the severity of our client's injuries."

"The jury saw through their failed tactics and understood the pain our client deals with every day," Wheeler said.

Bradford DeJardin and Patricia Ball Alberts of Husch Blackwell LLP represented Kinkisharyo. They could not be reached for comment.

According to the worker's lawyers, the defendants offered $752,000 to settle the case before trial and rejected a $3 million offer from the plaintiff.

The worker, Pablo Scipione, worked as an independent contractor for Altech Services, a subcontractor. He was called in at 2 a.m. and told repairs to a railcar had to be completed by 5 a.m. According to his lawsuit, he was rushing to complete the work and slipped and fell on the car, causing a micro-fracture to his left foot. Pablo Scipione v. Kinkisharyo Inc., et al., MC027686, (L.A. Super., Ct. filed Jan. 25, 2018)

Scipione returned to work the next day and continued to work for the company for a year and half. Two months after the fall, he underwent surgery and was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a debilitating disease that forced him to quit his job, according to his lawyers.

Khail A. Parris of the Parris Law firm also represented Scipioine. He said Kinkisharyo's safety protocols didn't meet the demands placed on its contractors, putting workers in harm's way.

"An injury this severe was bound to happen," Parris said in a statement. "Employees frequently complained to supervisors that the station was poorly lit, and yet nothing was done to ensure a safe working environment."

The trial before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy lasted six weeks. The jury awarded $571,330 for past economic loss; $1.6 million for future economic loss, $4.7 million for medical expenses, $12.4 million for past physical pain and mental suffering, $34.8 million for future physical pain and mental suffering and $4.2 million in punitive damages.

The plaintiff's lawyers said pre-judgment interest could add another $20 million to the total.

"Not only did the jury recognize our client's suffering, but they also sent a strong signal to Kinkisharyo by awarding punitive damages," Wheeler stated. 


Douglas Saunders Sr.

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