Discovery battle erupts in scaffold injury suit

By David Yates | May 17, 2010

For the past three years, United Scaffolding and plaintiff Encarnacion Perez Jr., a Total Petrochemicals refinery employee, have been engaged in heated litigation over an injury Perez received while dismantling a scaffold.

Now the parties are battling over discovery issues, as United Scaffolding is asking a local judge to dismiss the suit or at the very least quash the testimony of an expert witness.

As the Record reported in April 2007, Perez filed a suit against United Scaffolding.

In his suit, Perez says he was instructed to assist other workers in dismantling a scaffold at the Port Arthur refinery on Oct. 3, 2006.

He took his position and latched his harness to the scaffold. A worker above him stepped onto a runner, which immediately gave way.

"This worker fell onto plaintiff causing him to be thrown off the scaffold," the suit said, adding that Perez hit his head and was knocked unconscious.

In the past three months, both parties have filed several motions. A hearing to sort the issues and compel the case forward was slated for Monday, May 17, but has been reset for a later date.

On March 17, United Scaffolding filed a motion to quash the deposition of Roger Caddock, arguing that he has no personal knowledge of the case.

Case background

Court records say Perez's employer investigated the incident and concluded the scaffold was improperly constructed by the defendant. Specifically, the right angle joints were loose.

Perez claims United Scaffolding was negligent and failed to exercise ordinary care while constructing the scaffold.

Conversely, United Scaffolding argues in its answer that Perez was negligent and a third party controlled the worksite.

Perez is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses, the suit said.

He is represented by attorney Christopher Dean of the Williams Bailey Law Firm in Houston.

United Scaffolding is represented by Kathleen Kennedy of Mehaffy Webber in Beaumont.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. A179-159

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