Michael Baker, a cement mason, was pulling concrete down a chute extending from the back of a cement mixer at a construction site in Philadelphia. As he was working, the cement truck suddenly lurched backward, throwing Mr. Baker from the concrete island on which he was standing to a pavement subgrade approximately two to three feet below the island. Despite extensive medical care and treatment, including a four-level decompression laminectomy performed by Dr. Alexander Vaccaro, Mr. Baker continued to experience chronic pain.
The plaintiff was represented by attorneys Alan M. Feldman and Daniel J. Mann. At trial, they contended that the cement truck should not have moved without a signal, while the defendant maintained that the truck driver did receive a signal to move, and in fact it was Mr. Baker who gave the signal. The defendant offered $25,000 before trial, which was increased to $500,000 after learning that the jury had rendered a verdict. The jury awarded $2.5 million.
Feldman attributed the victory to his client, whose testimony the jury chose to believe over conflicting testimony from other witnesses: “I believe the jury found that my client had been a very reliable and dependable employee for 28 years, and had never had a prior work injury. When he said that he did not give a signal for the truck to move, the jury believed him.”
The case was tried before The Honorable C. Darnell Jones, Jr. The defendant was represented by Leigh J. Bechtle and Kristen A. Morris.