A Jefferson County jury has found that James Levine was 49 percent responsible for stepping through a hole in a scaffold and falling several feet, but still awarded the man $178,000.

As the Record reported last week, the personal injury trial of James and Lisa Levine vs. United Scaffolding et al began Monday, Dec. 8, in Judge Floyd's 172nd District court.

On Friday, Dec. 12, jurors found United Scaffolding 51 percent negligent in causing Levine's injuries and awarded the plaintiff $178,000 in future medical expenses.

Levine was awarded no damages for his alleged past and future mental anguish and pain.

According to court documents, the day after Christmas 2005, Levine was working on a scaffold that had been erected by defendant United Scaffolding.

Levine was tightening a flange on an exchanger when one of the scaffold boards, which the plaintiffs allege was not "properly secured," shifted, "exposing a hole that Levine fell through," court documents state.

Levine's suit does not say how far he fell, but does say the fall resulted in injuries to his neck, shoulders and back.

The suit also alleges defendants United Scaffolding and Travis negligently assembled the scaffold, failed to train Levine on how to use a scaffold and failed to provide him with a safe work environment.

In its original answer, United Scaffolding asserted Levine's injuries were solely caused by his own negligence.
The Levines were represented by Tim Ferguson of Beaumont's Ferguson Firm.

United Scaffold and Travis were represented by attorney Kathleen Kennedy of the Benckenstein, Norvell & Nathan law firm in Beaumont.

Case No. E177-607

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