Another Win For Pike & Lustig: $23.8 Million Verdict Returned In Broward County For Construction Laborer
The case of Jovani Verduzco, a 22-year-old inexperienced construction laborer, whose legs were violently pinned between a front loader machine and bucket on a Davie construction site back in April 2016, was horrifying to all who witnessed the hour-plus rescue broadcast on live television.
Mr. Verduzco was injured while attempting to operate a Bobcat front loader. While operating the vehicle, Mr. Verduzco accidently drove the Bobcat into a sloped muddy area with the bucket in a high position causing the vehicle to become unstable. He then slid out of the front of the vehicle trapping his legs between its cabin and bucket for approximately 1.5 hours. At one point amputation of his legs was seriously considered.
One of several defendants, Whitfield Small, was an employee of W.S. Trash Hauling, who allowed Mr. Verduzco to operate the vehicle without inquiring as to whether he had any experience operating that kind of machine before entrusting the use of it to him. Without providing training or instruction of any kind, Mr. Small allowed the Plaintiff to use the vehicle unsupervised without attempting to facilitate the safe operation of the vehicle.
Pike & Lustig LLP argued that Mr. Small was negligent in failing to properly evaluate the Plaintiff’s level of experience to determine if he was qualified to operate the vehicle or to provide instruction, training or any supervision to facilitate the safe operation of the vehicle.
On February 9, 2022, in a Broward County courtroom, Mr. Verduzco got justice. His attorneys, Michael Pike and Robert “Burr” Johnson of Pike & Lustig, filed a lawsuit against eight separate individuals and entities on behalf of Mr. Verduzco.
- Of those eight lawsuits, settlements in excess of $1 million were entered into with six of the defendants.
- Michael Pike and Robert Johnson proceeded to trial with the remaining two defendants: Quad-M Construction & Development, LLC, and David Tapia.
- A Broward County jury returned a $23.8 million verdict against those two defendants yesterday, with liability divided 70% to Quad-M and 30% to Mr. Tapia.
Here are bulleted details of the case:
- Mr. Verduzco was working a construction job where he was put on a front-loading heavy piece of machinery (aka a Bobcat). Mr. Verduzco was never asked if he had any experience using the machine and was not provided any training. While operating the machine, Mr. Verduzco was ejected and trapped between the machine and the attached bucket. He was trapped for 1.5 hours.
- Mr. Verduzco went in and out of consciousness as both of his legs snapped and his bones protruded through his skin. There was severe blood loss and the responding EMTs planned to amputate both of Mr. Verduzco’s legs onsite.
- Mr. Verduzco was finally freed and airlifted to a hospital where he underwent an 8-hour emergency surgery followed by several more surgeries over next several months. Skin grafts were also performed numerous times.
- Following Mr. Verduzco’s surgeries, he was not able to walk without assistance for a full year. He later underwent knee surgeries and spinal surgeries as a result of the incident. He remains in extreme pain to this day.