Woman Paralyzed in Fall from Defective Ladder
A thirty-six-year-old woman climbed up a ladder to rescue her cat from a tree near her home in Meshoppen, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. While she was on the top section of the ladder it suddenly retracted downward, causing her to fall to the ground and suffer permanent injuries including incomplete quadriplegia.
The extension ladder had retracted due to an alleged defective design and insufficient warnings. The defective design made it susceptible to false-locking, where the user would be led to believe the locks were engaged when the ladder was extended even though they were not actually engaged. Further, there were no pictorial labels on the ladder to depict what properly engaged locks looked like. The ladder manufacturer had subsequently changed the design of this ladder and also affixed such pictorial labels. Mr. Marciano and Mr. MacAvoy retained an expert in the case who had worked for the product manufacturer for sixteen years, including as a senior product manager.
The defendants were the designers and manufacturers of the ladder and the sellers of the ladder. The defense argued that the ladder was not defective and that the victim and her husband, who had been holding the ladder, misused the ladder and/or failed to read and heed its warnings and instructions. The defense blamed both the victim and her husband for the victim’s fall.
The victim was 36 years old at the time of her fall and she worked as a cleaner for a cleaning company. Her treating doctors opined that she was permanently disabled from employment as a result of her incomplete quadriplegia. Experts opined that she suffered significant economic damages including future medical care costs, past wage loss, loss in potential earning capacity and substantial liens. Because of her injuries, not only will the victim never enjoy her once active lifestyle, but she will never have to opportunity to have children and experience motherhood.
Prior to trial Mr. Marciano and Mr. MacAvoy obtained for the victim and her husband a total settlement of $7,150,000 against the defendants.