VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
Friday, November 20, 2015
COURT/DATE: Riverside Superior/Aug. 10, 2015
JUDGE: Hon. John Vineyard
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff- Case C. Barnett, Case Barnett Law Corporation, Schumann Rosenberg, Defendant- Daley & Heft LLP
FACTS: Audio/Visual technician Scharf, 58, volunteered to install electrical wiring at his church Calvary Chapel Temecula Valley, in Temecula. On January 25,2005, Scharf fell off the top of a wall as he was trying to install cable and wiring inside the church.
PLAINTIFFS’ CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs contended that defendant church and Pastor Nelson were negligent in their operation and management of a construction project at the church. Plaintiff claimed that because of the mismanagement of the project, Scharf was left alone on a Sunday night on a short timeline without adequate tools or supplies to complete the project he was requested to perform.
Plaintiff’s wife allegedly found her husband lying unconscious on the floor with blood and cerebral spinal fluid around his head. The Scharfs sued the church, the officer and director of the church, the owner of the premises, and the general contractor and its owner under various negligence causes of action as well as promissory estoppel and loss of consortium.
DEFENDANTS’ CONTENTIONS: Defendants contended that Scharf was negligent while performing the installation work.
INJURIES: Scharf claimed he fractured his skull, nose, and knee and broke several bones in his shoulder. He was in a coma for approximately three weeks. Plaintiff underwent knee replacement surgery. Plaintiff was later diagnosed with brain injury. The injury allegedly triggered a server mood disorder that was accompanied by psychosis, intense anger and paranoia. Scharf also allegedly showed symptoms of dementia.
RESULT: The jury found Calvary Chapel Temecula Valley and Nelson 49 percent liable and Scharf 51 percent liable.
The parties settled for $3.8 million prior to the damages phase of trial. The breakdown of damages included $2 million for life care and planning and $1.8 million for pain and suffering.