Man falls 35 feet from skylight to concrete floor below | DENENA | POINTS

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Man falls 35 feet from skylight to concrete floor below

On September 12, 2006, Donald Wayne Tilley was performing demolition and remodeling work on a two-story commercial structure located at 10688 Haddington Drive in Houston, Texas, in the scope of his employment with Startex Construction.  The premise was owned by Defendant PWB Properties, LLC and was leased, occupied, and operated by Defendant Global Services, LLC.  The demolition and remodeling work was performed pursuant to a construction agreement between Defendant Global Services, LLC and Startex Construction.

Mr. Tilley was working on the second floor of the office portion of the property performing acoustical ceiling tile demolition.  In the process of performing his work duties, Mr. Tilley accidentally cut, what he believed to be an air conditioning thermostat wire.  Concerned that there may be a live wire in the ceiling, Mr. Tilley went to the roof to shut off the breakers to the air conditioning units on the roof.

After turning off the breakers on the roof, Mr. Tilley slipped on loose gravel and fell through an old skylight, landing 35 feet below on the concrete floor.  He suffered massive orthopedic, internal, and neurological injuries requiring months of hospitalizations, multiple surgeries, and countless doctors’ visits.  Tilley alleged that the skylight in question created an unreasonable risk of harm to him, as an invitee, a fact Defendants knew or reasonably should have known, given its dangerous condition.

Plaintiffs alleged that the skylight in question did not have any fall risk prevention device around, above, or below it.  It was designed and installed in such a way that it was foreseeable that someone could trip and fall through it.  There are numerous alternatives the defendants could have and should have employed to make the skylight safe and warn invitees such as Mr. Tilley of the potential danger.  Additionally, it was alleged that railings should have been installed around the skylights to prevent invitees from coming in contact with the skylights.  The skylights could have been replaced with a different type of skylight that is constructed in a pyramid fashion with steel reinforcement built in to the frame.  Any of these applications would have prevented Mr. Tilley’s horrific fall.

Tilley incurred over $537,000.00 in medical expenses and lost wages of approximately $54,000.00.

The parties settled for a confidential amount at mediation.