HARTFORD, CT—It was an emotional day at the Hartford Superior Courthouse on October 5 as the team from Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC sat beside their clients, Juan “Mikey” and Emily Cruz. It had been five years since the firm was enlisted to take on the personal injury case that left Juan with a crushed abdomen, fractured ribs, paraplegia, and a likelihood that he would never walk again.
His case against Philips Lighting North America Corp. was a daunting one but after a 1,300-pound cube of lighting equipment fell on top of Juan during a shift at the Locust Street Warehouse where he had worked for 15 years, it was one that attorneys Ryan McKeen and Andrew Garza knew they had to take on.
The suit’s central contention was that Signify, formerly Philips Lighting North America, failed to follow its own safety rule and secure its product to a pallet. Through animation and expert witnesses, the plaintiffs showed that the load would not have fallen if it had been secured.
Besides medical bills, the suit said Juan Cruz had lost income and earning potential and was permanently disabled. Emily Lopez-Cruz, Mikey’s wife took on the role of round the clock caregiver. She has continued to support the household while feeding, dressing, and bathing Cruz as her husband struggled to adjust to new limitations.
The case was decided by a six-person jury and as the honorable Judge Stuart Rosen confirmed that the Cruz family would be awarded $100 million, the largest physical injury verdict in the state’s history.
Connecticut Trial Firm Attorneys Andrew Garza, Andrew Ranks, Alexa Mahony, and Ryan McKeen served as trial counsel.