On July 12, 2004, plaintiff Joseph, 38, a plumber, was working on a hotel project in East Palo Alto. A concrete hose, full of pressurized concrete, broke apart explosively and swung into his knee. As it randomly swung about, the hose whipped into Joseph’s left knee and skidded upward into his left upper thigh and groin area. The impact knocked Joseph to the ground, onto a metal deck. He twisted his right knee in the process. Claiming physical injuries, Joseph sued Berkeley Concrete Pumping Co., Berkeley, and Dolan Concrete Construction Inc., San Jose, for negligence.
Plaintiff’s counsel pointed out that Berkeley and Dolan used worn, concrete-encrusted clamps on their equipment. Plaintiff’s counsel claimed that the hose sections separated because the defendants failed to secure the clamps with locking pins-as required by the manufacturer of the clamp-to hold the sections of pressurized hose together. Berkeley and Dolan initially argued that Joseph was warned, and therefore caused his own injuries, but in the end they admitted responsibility for the concrete hose separating.
Joseph injured both knees, requiring several surgeries to his right knee, where he tore his meniscus. His doctors performed right knee surgery, including a meniscectomy and wedge osteotomy with allograft bone grafting. Joseph claimed past medical expenses or $73,375 and $208,413 in future medical expenses for two more surgeries. Joseph claimed that his injuries prevented him from returning to
work in his previous employment as a commercial plumber. He claimed $202,137 in past economic loss (adjusted for mitigating wages) and between $1 million and $1.5 million in future economic loss. At trial, he was working a lower paying job. Joseph made an unspecified claim for pain and suffering. The defense disputed the injuries, contending that Joseph’s right knee was not injured in the incident. Defense counsel contended that Joseph had degenerative conditions in his right knee prior to the incident. The defense disputed the injuries, contending that Joseph never hurt his right knee as the hose never hit it.
The jury returned a plaintiff verdict, awarding Joseph $2,056,000.