A County jury has awarded $6 million dollars to a former musician who, after drinking at a private party, was paralyzed when he dove into an under filled apartment complex pool. Jurors determined that the man was 49 percent responsible for his injuries and the owner of the Apartments was 51 percent liable for failing to close a dangerous pool or warn swimmers that water levels had fallen bellow 3 feet.
The division of liability means the plaintiff who was left a quadriplegic with limited use of his arms, would receive 51 percent of the $12 million in damages. Jurors returned the verdict after two days of deliberations and a nine-day trial. We never, ever contested responsibility for him and he admitted he made a mistake, a momentary, thoughtless mistake.But swimmers also should be able to expect that an open pool is safe to use and the managers of the apartment complex failed to close the pool even though employees noticed that water levels had dropped and disregarded state and city laws require under filled public pools to be closed. In addition, testimony showed that the Management company which owned the apartment complex when the plaintiff was injured but sold it in October did not have appropriate safety procedures in place. The plaintiff was a guitarist, singer and songwriter for a band who had moved with band mates two years before the accident. A videotape, shot by a friend and played for jurors, showed a group roughhousing around the pool at 2 a.m. before the plaintiff, then 23, dove into an area that should have been 4 1/2 feet deep but instead was 2 1/2 to 3 feet deep. Defendant argued the plaintiff was solely responsible for his injury because the pool’s depth was obvious, signs prohibited diving at the pool and his judgment was impaired by alcohol. Blood tests after the accident showed his blood alcohol level was 0.09, he said. The legal limit to drive in the state is 0.08. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that the apartment complex, marketed to college-age residents, condoned pool parties where alcohol was consumed, yet neglected to plan for associated risks.But the apartment complex attorneys noted that jurors, answering a separate question, also found the plaintiff to be 51 percent responsible for negligence in causing his injury. he said. So we believe there is a conflicting jury finding that we will appeal. He also will ask District Judge to dismiss or reduce the award before he enters a final judgment, which typically takes about a month. Since the accident,the plaintiff has been living in New York, where Medicaid benefits are more generous, but hopes the jury award will let him return to his home.The plaintiff is being cared for at the home of his mother who needs the money to continue to care for him and pay for his therapies,
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