Legal professionals argue for brand spanking new trial, discount of $19 million verdict for pool harm

Legal professionals for a Washington Township household ordered to pay $19 million to a Vandergrift man injured in a swimming pool accident almost a decade in the past on Monday known as for a Westmoreland County decide to toss out the jury verdict and order a brand new trial.

Westmoreland County Widespread Pleas Choose Harry Smail Jr. is being requested to overturn the decision towards Robert and Laura O’Black, who had been discovered negligent and largely answerable for the life-altering accidents suffered by a then 21-year-old Michael Fraser.

Fraser was left a quadriplegic after a swimming pool incident on the O’Blacks’ pool in July 2013. Fraser, now 29, claimed the O’Blacks allowed a 5-foot raft for use within the household’s pool and lined a written label that warned towards its use in a swimming pool.

“We predict there needs to be a brand new trial,” argued protection lawyer John Hare. “They by no means proved how this accident occurred. You can’t put 5 situations earlier than the jury and ask them to decide on.”

Fraser’s neck was damaged, and he suffered different accidents after he jumped off a diving board, hit the raft and banged his head off the underside of the pool because it transitioned from the deep to shallow water.

The jury discovered the O’Blacks had been 70% accountable for Fraser’s accidents and awarded damages to cowl his previous, present and future medical bills in addition to for ache and struggling, embarrassment, disfigurement and lack of life’s pleasures.

Smail was requested to mould awarded damages to evolve to the jury’s verdict, which might finally scale back payout to Fraser to $13.3 million.

However, Hare stated, the decide ought to go additional and doubtlessly slash the decision by one other $1 million or overturn the discovering and order a brand new trial. Hare instructed improper rulings made by the decide mid-trial impacted the decision and legal professionals for Fraser didn’t sufficiently show their case that the O’Blacks had been answerable for the accidents.

Hare argued that Fraser and his legal professionals by no means launched proof of precisely how Fraser was injured.

Fraser’s lawyer, Renee Metallic, argued the decision needs to be upheld and that questions on how Fraser jumped and the place precisely he landed on the raft weren’t related to find out legal responsibility.

“Our professional testified that each one facets on the warning (on the raft) had been adequate. We didn’t have an issue with the raft or with the warning. We had an issue with it (the raft) being in that pool and the warning being lined. He (Fraser) was given no alternative to comply with the foundations,” Metallic stated.

Fraser, via his legal professionals, additionally needs to the decide to impose extra delayed damages as a result of the O’Blacks and their attorneys made no provides to settle the case earlier than trial.

Smail stated he’ll evaluate the case and concern a ruling on every of the problems.

Wealthy Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Evaluation employees author. You possibly can contact Wealthy by electronic mail at [email protected] or through Twitter .