Poorly Secured Curtain Wall Causes Serious Injury to Glazier

Synopsis

Plaintiff's Allegations

Yuanda USA, Inc. (Yuanda), ordered and purchased quarter-ton glass curtain walls for installation at a construction site in San Francisco. It then delivered the curtain walls to the site in bunks. Each of the individual curtain walls was to be held in place within its bunk by a single plastic strap, but Yuanda did not inspect the bunks to confirm the integrity of the straps or otherwise see if the curtain walls inside were secured. On April 23, 2015, Craig Hoskinson, an apprentice glazier, was working near one of these open bunks when the strap holding one of the curtain walls snapped, causing the curtain wall to fall out of the bunk and strike Mr. Hoskinson on the head and back, driving his head into another curtain wall, and causing permanent and disabling injuries.

Mr. Hoskinson filed suit against Yuanda, alleging that it had failed to ensure that the curtain walls it brought to the site were properly and safely secured.

Defendants' Allegations

Liability was contested. Yuanda asserted that it could not control the manner in which the curtain walls were packaged and that Mr. Hoskinson’s employer was responsible for his injuries, since it had the contractual responsibility to inspect the bunks.

Injuries

Yuanda’s curtain wall struck Mr. Hoskinson on the back of the head and right shoulder. The force of the impact cracked Mr. Hoskinson’s hard hat, knocked him down, and smashed his face onto a curtain wall on the ground. He lost consciousness for several seconds. His co-workers lifted the curtain wall off him and immediately took him to the emergency department for initial evaluation and care of: a head injury, including concussion, headache, and jaw pain; contusions and abrasions on his head; nineteen chipped and fractured teeth; neck trauma, accompanied by an acute laceration; and contusions and abrasions on his face, neck, and right scapular area. He was diagnosed with a brain injury, PTSD, chronic headaches, trigeminal nerve pain syndrome, lumbar strain, trapezius strain, neuralgia, cervicalgia, and extensive dental injuries, for which he underwent numerous dental implants, bone grafts, and root canals.

Injuries

Plaintiff fell three stories to the sidewalk. Plaintiff had a Glasgow Coma Scale of 14, facial wounds, a dislocated elbow, and a broken wrist. He had bruising to his right clavicle and pain in his right knee and had a knee immobilizer placed. The plaintiff’s injuries required immediate emergency surgery. Plaintiff suffers ongoing right-sided wrist and knee pain. He was diagnosed with mild PTSD. He returned to full-time work within one year of the fall.

Mr. Hoskinson’s doctors and dentists charted a future treatment regimen of physical, psychological, and cognitive therapy, nerve injections and ablation, pain management, and further dental surgeries.

Due to Mr. Hoskinson’s injuries and functional limitations, his vocational consultant opined he would not return to work as a glazier. He was expected to be able to do part-time, sedentary work in the future.

Damages

Mr. Hoskinson required extensive medical care for his injuries, including surgical intervention, therapy, medications and pain management. The incident resulted in significant lost earnings and earning capacity. The workers' compensation indemnity lien was $203,115.30.

Result

Mr. Hoskinson settled with Yuanda on the fourth day of trial for $1.2 million.