Jury finds three construction firms liable for damages from 13-foot fall

Injured Worker gets $2.3 million
News Journal, December 15, 2001
Jury finds three construction firms liable for damages from 13-foot fall

By Steven Church
Staff Reporter
A federal jury awarded an ironworker and his wife nearly $2.3 million Friday, ruling that three Delaware construction companies should have done more to protect the man against a 13-foot fall from a construction beam.

Jacob Boyce and Roseann Boyce were awarded the damages in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, a few blocks away from the Wilmington Trust Plaza where the accident happened in 1996, said the couple’s attorney, Debora Aldrich.

The jury ruled that EDIS Co., and Bellevue Holding Co., which managed the construction of the building, and Falcon Steel Co., the building contractor, were responsible for Jacob Boyce’s injuries.

Boyce, 59, of Lansdowne, Pa., was hurt when he fell off a beam during a lunch break and permanently injured his spine and his wrist, Aldrich said.

“He loved to hunt and fish and was a great carpenter,” Roseann Boyce said. “He has lost all of that.”

The jury ordered EDIS and Bellevue to pay half the money awarded to the Boyce’s and Falcon to pay the other half.

Attorney Gary Kaplan, who represented EDIS and Bellevue, would not comment.

An attorney for Falcon Steel could not be reached.

During the trial, the companies had argued that they were in compliance with all government safety guidelines.

Boyce’s lead attorney, Art Krawitz, told jurors that the companies should have followed safety procedures used by other construction companies.

An expert testified that any time a worker might fall more than 6 feet, he or she should be secured with a safety line, said Aldrich. Boyce was not wearing a safety line, she said.

Government safety regulations require only that construction workers facing a potential 30-foot fall be secured with a safety line, Aldrich said.

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