The $13 million verdict included emotional damages sustained by the victim’s wife, who has become his full-time caregiver.
Daily Business Review, Michael A. Mora, November 22, 2022
The Miami-Dade Circuit Court entered a default judgment against the defendants, Tableros De Fibra De La Subbetica Sl and Studio Design LLC.
It was a one-day trial in which the jury returned a verdict within an hour.
A jury returned an eight-figure verdict for the client of a Podhurst Orseck litigator—a construction worker who became permanently disabled after a panel display collapsed on top of him, causing a traumatic brain injury from multiple blows to his head.
Pablo Rojas of Podhurst Orseck in Miami represented plaintiff Jacinto Tamayo Perez against the defendant Tableros De Fibra De La Subbetica Sl.
The case before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gina Beovides exemplified the importance of “being persistent, zealously representing your clients and never giving up even in the face of procedural obstacles,” particularly, because the main defendant refused to appear in the litigation, the attorney said.
“A challenge is ensuring that the jury doesn’t penalize you or your client for the fact that the defendant has refused to appear, and doesn’t challenge the credibility of your presentation because nobody is there to challenge it,” Rojas said. “We did that successfully here, and the jury delivered a result consistent with our client’s damages.”
Now, the circuit court jury returned a $13 million verdict consisting of past and future damages for Perez, including $5 million for lost earnings and medical expenses, and $5 million for pain and suffering.
The verdict included an award to Perez’s wife of $3 million for the emotional damages she sustained.
The verdict followed a settlement with a third-party specialty carpentry company, BP Wood LLC.
The case dates to July 2018, when Tafisub, a Spain-based company, sought a display to be built in Miami-Dade County with the intention to ship it to Atlanta, for a trade show, court documents show. BP Wood, which owned the work site, hired Perez for the project.
But when Perez and a second worker were finishing the display construction and preparing to disassemble it for transport, a Tafisub employee directed the 56-year-old and his colleague to remove a specific panel, court documents show. Soon after, the display collapsed on them, and first responders air-lifted Perez to Jackson Memorial Hospital, pleadings state.
Rojas served BP with process without a problem. He went on to serve Tafisub with process pursuant to the Hague Service Convention—a multilateral treaty that came into existence to provide litigants with a reliable and efficient means of serving documents on parties living, operating or based in another country..
While Rojas advised Tafisub to hire an attorney in Miami-Dade County to defend itself in the lawsuit, that defendant responded in a letter explaining why it refused to do so, and then ceased communication.
Bokor, the presiding judge, entered a judicial default against Tafisub, according to court documents.
During the one-day trial, Rojas had the jury hear testimony about Perez’s life following his disability, and inability to be an active father to his three daughters, as well as an affectionate husband to his wife. The latter has since become his full-time caregiver.
In addition, multiple physicians who treated Perez backed that up with relevant medical assessments.
The jury returned the $13 million verdict less than 30 minutes after initiating deliberations.
Rojas indicated that an attorney at Podhurst specializing in jury verdict collections would pursue collection of the judgment against the Spain-based company.
“The Perez family [has] suffered tremendously for more than four years since this horrific accident,” Rojas said. “Although no amount of money can undo what they have gone through, they are gratified that the jury has rendered a verdict commensurate with the family’s suffering.”