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$500,000 Recovery to Plaintiff Hit by Falling Acoustical Ceiling Tile

Plaintiff hit by falling acoustical ceiling tile

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Plaintiff alleged that he was injured on December 21, 1997 , when he was hit on the head by a falling ceiling tile while at the defendant’s barroom. Defendants did not deny that plaintiff was hit on the head by a ceiling tile, but contended that the injury was trivial, that it was a light 1ft. x 1ft. acoustical tile, and could not have caused any injury. Plaintiff did not lose consciousness, reported the incident to the receptionist and walked back to the car and sought no immediate medical attention. His first visit to a doctor was approximately three weeks later, at which time he complained of headaches and fatigue. Because of ongoing complaints, two months after the incident an MRI was taken which was interpreted by the radiologist as showing a subdural hematoma.

Approximately five months after the incident, plaintiff underwent a craniotomy and evacuation of the subdural hematoma. It was noted that the subdural hematoma did not have the usual crescent shape of a hematoma and contained no membranes (blood formations). Defendants subsequently had the MRI films examined by a neuroradiologist. Defendant’s neuroradiologist testified that the fluid collection seen on the MRI was a preexisting subarachnoid cyst which had been long standing, was probably congenital, and was not a subdural hematoma, and did not require surgery. In addition defendant contested the extent and causal connection of plaintiff’s claimed deficits. Plaintiff was a Native American, 46 years old, and pursuing a graduate degree in Native American Studies at the time of the incident.

There were Daubert challenges to plaintiff’s neuropsychologist and vocational experts.

The case was tried for eighteen days. The case finally settled during jury deliberations.

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