Severely Injured Concrete Worker Wins Lawsuit, Settlement Against Contractors

On Nov. 25, 2013, Locks Law Firm partner Andrew J. DuPont and associate Priscilla Jimenez obtained a $2.25 million verdict and $500,000 settlement in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of a worker who was severely injured in a workplace incident on a Perkasie, Pa., construction site in 2010. The verdict was obtained against defendants Trans-Fleet Concrete Inc. and its agent 5 Star Concrete Pumping. Albino Concrete Construction Inc. - the company hired by the builder to do the concrete work and who in turn hired Girafa Construction Inc., the plaintiff’s employer – was named as a second defendant and settled the case.

On March 22, 2010, the plaintiff, Hildo De Franca, a concrete worker with Girafa Construction Inc., was pouring concrete with the assistance of a concrete pump truck between two nine-foot-high forms to make walls for a new home in Perkasie. The concrete was being pumped from a truck operated by a 5 Star Concrete Pumping employee through a hose which De Franca was directing. On two separate occasions that day, the hose became clogged. The first two times, the pump truck operator shut down the truck, allowed De Franca to get out of the way, and then proceeded to clear the clog by hand. On the third occurrence, the operator – against the procedures stated in the truck’s owner’s manual and known industry standards – increased the pressure on the pump to dislodge the concrete clump while Mr. De Franca held the hose. As a result of the build-up and release of pressure, the hose whipped around violently, striking the plaintiff in the head and knocking him off of the wall. De Franca was knocked unconscious, sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury, a compression fracture of the T-11 vertebrae and an aggravation of Degenerative Disk Disease in the lumbar and cervical levels of his spine. De Franca, who was 42-years-old at the time of the accident, was unable to return to work.

On the morning of closing arguments, DuPont reached a settlement with Albino Concrete Construction Inc. for $500,000. The $2.25 million verdict against Trans-Fleet Concrete Inc. and 5 Star Concrete Pumping was broken down to $2 million for pain and suffering and $250,000 for loss of consortium. Liability was divided evenly between Trans-Fleet and its agent 5 Star Concrete Pumping, resulting in 100 percent liability to Trans-Fleet.