CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT: $8.8 MILLION
Court: Waukesha County Circuit Court
Case name: William Eisler v. West Bend Mutual, et al.
Case No: 07-CV-2734
Judge: Honorable Michael Bohren
Verdict: In favor of plaintiff
Award: $8.8 Million
Special damages: Past medical damages: $1,239,492
Date of incident: July 12, 2007
Disposition date: May 14, 2010
Attorneys for Plaintiffs: counsel for plaintiff, William Eisler: Thadd J. Llaurado and Keith R. Stachowiak of Murphy & Prachthauser; Counsel for Involuntary Plaintiff, Integrity Mutual Insurance Company (comp carrier): Patrick McNally of Borgelt, Powell, Peterson & Frauen
Defense attorney: Terry Booth of Piper & Schmidt (For West Bend Mutual Insurance Company and Coello & Associates)
Plaintiff’s summary of the case status: On Friday evening, May 14, 2010, a Waukesha County Circuit Court jury awarded $8,799,492 in compensatory damages, and assigned 40 percent of the negligence causing the accident to masonry contractor, Coello & Associates, who was insured by West Bend Mutual Insurance.
This construction accident happened during the building of a residence in Sussex. Plaintiff William Eisler was a siding subcontractor on the job. On an early morning in July 2007, he was readying the job site for his siding crew’s work and pulled on some plastic that had been left behind by the masonry contractors to protect their cement work from rain. As he pulled on the plastic the porch roof collapsed onto him, crushing his pelvis and causing numerous internal injuries, breaking both of his legs and crushing his pelvis. During the course of a rather lengthy recovery, Eisler was plagued by infections that resulted from the internal injuries that he sustained.
One of the significant factors that caused the porch roof to collapse was the replacement of 4×4 temporary support braces, which were nailed into the porch roof by the carpenter, with 2x4s that were placed on an angle and not nailed into the porch roof by the cement contractor. The cement contractor did need to remove temporary 4 x 4 supports in order to pour a concrete slab, but the plaintiffs contended that they should not have replaced the 4×4 supports with weaker 2×4 supports, and, also, should have nailed those supports into place to prevent them from slipping.
On the morning that jury selection began, the plaintiffs resolved their case against three other contractors on the job site, including the general contractor, the carpentry contractor and the trenching contractor. The amount received was $1,212,500 under a Pierringer-type release. The case went forward against the masonry contractor, and the jury returned a verdict finding them 40 percent responsible for the $8.8 million verdict.