$2.5 Million for Fall into Industrial Pit
John Doe gave up lobster fishing in Maine to come to Palatka to work with some Vietnam War buddies at the Seminole Power Plant. Hames Contracting was relining the walls of a 22-foot-deep pit at the Seminole plant.
After finishing one part of the pit, Hames put the metal prating back on top of the pit and took down the barricades around it. Unfortunately, Hames didn't replace the bolts and clips which held the gratings in place.
As John was walking across the pit one evening, an unsecure grating flipped like a trap door and John plummeted 22 feet to the bottom of the pit. After several hours another employee finally heard John's cries from help, and was life-flighted to University Hospital's trauma center. John suffered internal injuries and fractures to his legs, arms, back and ribs. He was hospitalized for several months and underwent numerous surgeries. His medical bills are already over $600,000, and he faces more surgery in the future.
Hames claimed it did not replace the bolts and clips because they were corroded and unusable. Hames claimed it had reported the problem to Seminole and they should have installed new bolts and clips. Seminole cooperated with Pajcic & Pajcic in the investigation and presentation of the case which settled for $2.5 million in September 1997. Despite the best intentions of John and his Seminole supervisors, John has not been able to return to work. He has, however, recovered well enough to enjoy Florida fishing, bicycling and his grandchildren.