Philly Refinery Worker Awarded $9M for Injuries Suffered in Fall

January 30, 2006

A jury has awarded a Sunoco laborer $9 million for injuries suffered when he fell from a ladder at the company’s South Philadelphia refinery.

Patrick Brown, 35, fell in October 2002 while climbing down a ladder between catwalks, banging his head and injuring his back and shoulder in the fall, court documents said.

Brown’s attorney, John T. Dooley, said they had originally demanded $3 million in compensation for the accident, but negotiated down to $1 million.

“The only offer” Sunoco “ever made was $25,000,” Dooley said. “They ended up with a $9 million verdict against them.”

Brown’s injuries included herniated disks, according to documents filed Dooley. The main factual dispute in the case was whether a safety cage was in place on the ladder when the accident occurred.

The jury in the Court of Common Pleas reached its unanimous verdict Tuesday, according to Michele Rizio, a paralegal in Dooley’s office.

The company plans to appeal, Sunoco spokesman Jeffrey Peters said.

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