As a lawyer in a firm of seasoned attorneys, I always take pride when one of my colleagues is featured in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly for a noteworthy case. This week, Virginia Lawyers Weekly published a summary of attorney Rick Shapiro’s $1,500,000.00 settlement in a very interesting case. Our client was a commercial airline pilot who was staying overnight at a hotel in Norfolk, Virginia before his flight the next morning.
When the pilot woke up the next morning he took a shower and while he was washing his hair with his hands above his head, he was shocked from a light fixture overhead. The shock caused our client to lose consciousness and fall out of the shower. He came to and immediately called the hotel operator to send a maintenance engineer to the room.
There was dispute about the characteristics of the light fixture with the pilot describing it as a bare bulb in a ceramic-fixture protruding from the ceiling and the engineer described it as a recessed fixture with a plastic cover. I remember sitting in on depositions and there were many different types of light fixtures in place during that time period. The hotel eventually underwent major renovations which made it even more difficult to prove which fixture was in place at the time of the incident.
The pilot notified his company that he could not safely fly the plane and traveled home. During his flight home the pilot experienced pain in his left eye and was later diagnosed with left optic neuropathy which is a fancy way of saying his vision deteriorated. Obviously a pilot’s job is entirely dependent on his vision and the pilot lost is qualification to fly a commercial aircraft.
The case was transferred from state court to federal court by the defendant hotel. We alleged negligence per se because the light fixture violated the National Electric Code. We also alleged argued that the hotel took no photos of the bathroom as it appeared when he was shocked and changed the fixture during the month after the incident.
At a pre-trial hearing the judge allowed our electrical experts in and refused to dismiss the negligence per se count. After two settlement conferences the parties settled the case for $1,500,000.00.
Great job Rick! It always pays to have an experienced personal injury attorney representing you. A good lawyer knows what to look for and how to handle tricky defense lawyers. Visit our websites to learn more about our firm. Virginia Beach Injury Board, Norfolk Injury Board and Shapiro & Appleton.